The urgent need for more women representation in Africa: Why we do what we doPosted: 30 March, 2023 Filed under: Maria Mulenga Kasoma, Mary Izobo | Tags: Africa, African Union (AU) Agenda, developmental agendas, exclusion of women, gender equality, gender gaps, gender inequality, global priorities, leadership, United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, US-Africa Leaders’ Summit Leave a comment
Author: Mary Izobo
International Human Rights Lawyer
Author: Maria Mulenga Kasoma
Final-year law student
In December 2022, United States President Joe Biden hosted the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit emphasised the importance of engagement with Africa on the world’s most pressing challenges and possibilities. The Summit also sought to demonstrate the United States enduring commitment to Africa, underscored the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities. “Women and Youth: Peace and Security” was one of the key themes of the Summit. Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addressed the gathering on the role of women’s inclusion in African leadership. Under the theme, she highlighted the social and economic factors that push the exclusion of women. She further stressed the need to revise laws to ensure full gender equality.
Transitional Justice and Women in Africa: How the Material Turn is still difficult to be seen?Posted: 28 November, 2022 Filed under: Cristiano d'Orsi | Tags: Africa, African countries, community courts, compensatory assistance, crime against humanity, customary law, domestic instruments, domestic level, gender-based violence, Maputo Protocol, military tribunals, popular culture, rape culture, sexual violence, traditional justice systems, Transitional Justice, violations, violence, violent crime, women, women’s rights Leave a comment
Author: Cristiano d’Orsi
Research Fellow and Lecturer at the South African Research Chair in International Law (SARCIL), University of Johannesburg
As envisaged in the 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), transitional processes should recognize the gendered nature of conflicts in which women are affected disproportionately, both directly and indirectly, by violence (see, for example, Article 10 –Right to Peace- and Article 11 –Protection of Women in Armed Conflicts-). However, gender concerns in Africa have been rarely incorporated into Transnational Justice (TJ) through mainstreaming gender as a crosscutting issue. The nature of the violations to which women are usually subjected on the continent, and the impact of such violations on them, means that the issue of women and TJ should be treated on its own. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to comply with this measure. Normally, states emerging from conflicts or authoritarian repression should ensure women’s representation and participation at all stages of TJ processes by writing women’s participation into peace agreements and TJ laws and policies. Nevertheless, seldom has this been the case in Africa.
A critique of the Resolution (PAP-Res. 06(VI)/06) and Recommendation (PAP-Rec. 08(VI)/06) of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on migration in Africa.Posted: 14 November, 2022 Filed under: Eva Abugabe | Tags: Africa, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, African migrants, AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons, dangerous journeys, demographic distributions, governance, human rights, IDPs, international human rights instruments, International Organisation for Migration, Kampala Convention, Mediterranean Sea, migration, Pan-African Parliament, PAP, PAP-Rec. 08(VI)/06, PAP-Res. 06(VI)/06, SADC, Southern African Development Community, Sub-Saharan African countries, unapproved avenues, xenophobia 1 Comment
Author: Eva Abugabe
MPhil candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
The PAP in its sixth session of the First Parliament in 2006 resolved to ending migration in Africa. Based on PAP-Rec(08(VI)06), the PAP acknowledged migration as a regional priority due to increasing refugee crisis, migrant remittances, movement of labour, the African Diaspora and brain drain, feminisation of migration, xenophobia and human trafficking. In PAP-Res (06(VI)06), the PAP furthermore demanded continuous agenda setting in its debate, regional and national collaborations in learning best practices including encouraging governments to address the challenges by observing good governance and promoting investment in economies, infrastructure and creating employment.
The article critically analyses the PAP’s resolutions and recommendations against regional and international human rights instruments. It aims to position the PAP as an active protector of human rights while making it more visible to Africans, its primary constituents. Its thrust is to also evoke deliberate interventions and broadly contribute to the actualisation of the Africa We Want Agenda, Agenda 2063 and to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development specifically target 10.7 of Goal 10.
Women and Disability in Africa: African Disability Protocol to the Rescue?Posted: 18 July, 2022 Filed under: Farirai Sinothando Sibanda | Tags: abuse, Africa, African Disability Protocol, communication, disability rights, discrimination, exclusion, forced sterilisation, poverty, sexual and reproductive health rights, UNCRPD, women with disabilities 2 Comments
Author: Farirai Sinothando Sibanda
Master’s Candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
It is a gross injustice that disability rights in Africa have previously not been prioritised given that 80% of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. However, this situation seems to be gaining some attention with most African states having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) with the exception of three, namely Cameroon, South Sudan and Eritrea. Following this trajectory, in 2018, the African Union (AU) member states adopted the African Disability Protocol which will enter into force after ratification by 15 AU member states. Despite its potential to enhance persons with disabilities’ enjoyment of their rights, as of March 2022, the African Disability Protocol has only been ratified by three countries namely; Mali, Kenya, and Rwanda which is disappointingly low.
The UNCRPD is a key instrument in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities, but it lacks the specificity to the African context. Due to poverty and other issues in Africa, the situation of persons with disabilities, especially women, differs radically from that in other regions. Article 6 of the UNCRPD addresses women in two general provisions by obligating states to protect them from discrimination, ensure enjoyment of their rights and empower them. However, it does not specify the actions that states must take to fulfil these obligations. Resultantly, the UNCRPD does not adequately address the unique situation of persons with disabilities in Africa.Read the rest of this entry »
Decoding the ignorance of the world towards rising terrorism in Africa: A new Jihadist battlefield?Posted: 17 January, 2022 Filed under: Shelal Lodhi Rajput | Tags: 300 school girls, Africa, al Qaeda, Algeria, AQIM: Al Qaeda in the West, Boko Haram, Burkina Faso, campaigns of violence, Chad, civil war, French hostages, immoral activities, imposing taxes, ISIS, Islamic State groups, Islamist militants, Jihadist terror groups, mounting violence, new Syria, Syria, terrorism, terrorist attacks, United Nations, War on Terrorism Leave a comment
Author: Shelal Lodhi Rajput
BBA LL. B (Hons.)) candidate at Symbiosis Law School, Pune, India
Some of the greatest concerns for humanity right now, apart from the ongoing pandemic are the problems of climate change, ecocide and the rise of terrorism and jihadist outfits. Following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, which has its roots in the Middle East and South Asia, has taken center stage. While these violent religious extremists constitute a small percentage of the population, their danger is real. The International community has not been completely able to neutralise ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). In 2015, ISIS expanded into a network of affiliates in at least eight other countries. Its branches, supporters, and affiliates increasingly carried out attacks beyond the borders of its so-called caliphate. Now once again a ‘new Syria’ is being built in West Africa but the world is ignoring it, world media is not highlighting the plight of the people.
The function of constitutional judges and judicial philosophy in Africa: Introduction to the special issuePosted: 17 December, 2021 Filed under: Trésor Makunya | Tags: Africa, African legal systems, Babacar Kanté, colonialism, constitutional judges, constitutionalism, Gerard Niyungeko, Hajer Gueldich, Judge Albie Sachs, Judge Christine Schurmans, judicial philosophy, South African Constitutional Court, special issue Leave a comment
Author: Trésor Makunya Muhindo
Postdoctoral Fellow and Publications Coordinator, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
This special issue is devoted to the function of constitutional judges and judicial philosophy in Africa through the lens of Justice Albie Sachs’ judicial philosophy. It emerges from presentations made by speakers at the virtual book launch of the French translation of Albie Sachs’ book ‘The strange alchemy of life and law’ (2021) organised on 19 November 2021 by the Pretoria University Law Press.
This issue is divided into three main parts. In the first part, Judge Albie Sachs and Emmanuel De Groof provide the background to the translation of the book. The book aims at bridging the divide between the common law and civil law legal traditions that African legal systems inherited through colonialism. The divide between the two legal traditions is so great that it seems African lawyers and judges based in the common law tradition and those from the civil law tradition operate in a completely different world.
The right to food and housing for Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): geographical distance does not forcibly mean different situationsPosted: 2 November, 2021 Filed under: Cristiano d'Orsi, Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali | Tags: (DRC), Africa, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African supervisory bodies, basic rights, Colombia, Colombian Constitution, Colombian Housing and Habitat Law, conflict, conflict hotspots, Democratic Republic of Congo, drug-trafficking, ethnic tensions, food and housing, internal migration, internally displaced persons, Kampala Convention, national food law, natural disasters, South America, sustainable access, sustainable food systems, violence 1 Comment
Author: Cristiano d’Orsi
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the South African Research Chair in International Law (SARCIL), University of Johannesburg
Author: Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali
Member of research group Social Anthropology of Motricity of the University of Granada
Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the countries with the largest population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in South America and Africa, respectively, the third, and the second in the world (Syria heads the world ranking). Internal displacement in Colombia constitutes a widely recognized phenomenon, having become an essential reference point for internal migration studies. At the end of 2020, Colombia counted the highest number of IPDs in South America because of conflict and violence (4.9 million). In 2020, however, while Colombia counted 170,000 new IDPs, 106,000 of whom resulted from conflict and violence, Brazil counted 380,000 new IDPs, all due to natural disasters. Violence continued in Colombia notwithstanding Covid-19 restrictions. Many combatants with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) disbanded and reintegrated into society after the 2016 peace deal, but dissident factions have since emerged, and paramilitary groups continue to exercise significant territorial control. The department of Nariño, close to Ecuador, has been historically a hotspot of conflict and displacement given its strategic location on drug-trafficking routes.
Towards eradicating female genital mutilation in NigeriaPosted: 3 September, 2021 Filed under: Dunia Mekonnen Tegegn | Tags: abuse, abuse of women, Africa, child marriage, clitoris, cultural relativism, domestic violence, federal law, female genital mutilation, fgm, FGM/C, fistula, GBV, gender-based violence, Harmful practices, harmful traditional practices, human rights, indigenous areas, international call, maternal mortality, Nigeria, protection, psychological violence, sexual violence, socioeconomic violence, traditional circumcisers, Type II, vagina, violence, women's rights Leave a comment
Author: Dunia Mekonnen Tegegn
Human Rights Lawyer and Gender equality advocate
Nigeria is home to over 180 million people, 49.4% of whom are female. Along with the rest of the population, the Nigerian female population will experience dramatic increases in size by 2050. As far as violence against women is concerned, federal law addresses sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence, harmful traditional practices, and socio-economic violence. The law also cites spousal battery, forceful ejection from the home, forced financial dependence or economic abuse, harmful widowhood practices, female genital mutilation/cutting (“FGM/C”), other harmful traditional practices, substance attacks (such as acid attacks), political violence, and violence by state actors (especially government security forces) as offenses.
A 2019 survey on domestic violence found that 47% of respondents had suffered from domestic violence or knew someone who had; 82% of respondents indicated that violence against women was prevalent in the country. Police often refused to intervene in domestic disputes or blamed the victim for provoking the abuse. In rural areas, courts, and police were reluctant to intervene to protect women who formally accused their husbands of abuse if the level of alleged abuse did not exceed local customary norms.
Child marriages in Zimbabwe and the failure by the State to fulfil its obligations to protect the rights of childrenPosted: 26 August, 2021 Filed under: Nqobani Nyathi | Tags: ACERWC, Africa, African Commission, child marriage, child marriages, children's rights, Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child, constitution, Constitution of Zimbabwe, discrimination, gender inequality, girl child, human rights, Maputo Protocol, Marriage Act, Marriages Bill, provisions, religion, religious justification, religious sects, reproductive health, rights of children, rule of law, sexual rights, SRHR, women's rights, Zimbabwe Leave a comment
Author: Nqobani Nyathi
Researcher, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
Recently, there have been reports about a 14-year old child who died during childbirth. The reason why such a tragedy happened and may continue to happen is the State’s failure or unwillingness to eradicate child marriages. This article seeks to outline Zimbabwe’s legislative framework regarding child marriages and its obligations in terms of international law.
The legal position
Child marriage is illegal in Zimbabwe as held by Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court. In January 2016, the apex court rightly found that the legislative provisions legalising child marriages were inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The Constitution has fairly strong provisions promoting and protecting the rights of children, including the right to be protected from sexual exploitation or any form of abuse. The Court also observed that historically there has been a “lack of common social consciousness on the problems of girls who became victims of early marriages.”
The fact that child marriages had to be declared illegal through litigation exposes this lack of common social consciousness. Zimbabwe had been clinging to the archaic law legalising the marriage of children in terms of both the Marriage Act 81 of 1964 and the Customary Marriages Act 23 of 1950.