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“It’s time for action” – Akufo-Addo on 20 Years of the Maputo Protocol

Source: Modern Ghana                                                                              Published 23/02/2023

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Africa must be willing and able to uphold the Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women.

“It is time for action,” he echoed, saying the remaining member states yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol ought to do so, and submit their instruments of ratification to the AU Commission.

“We should stand together to create a boldly visible force for gender equality, saying no to acts and threats of violence against women and girls,” he stressed.

President Nana Akufo-Addo made the call at the recent Presidential High-Level Advocacy Breakfast Meeting on Gender, organised by the Women Gender Youth Directorate of the African Union (AU) Commission, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This was on the sideline of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU.

The AU states which have neither signed nor ratified the Protocol are Botswana, Egypt, and Morocco.

Those which have signed but not yet ratified it include: Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

The Maputo Protocol is one of the most progressive legal instruments providing a comprehensive set of human rights for African women.

It details wide-ranging and substantive human rights for women, covering the entire spectrum of civil and political, economic, social and cultural as well as environmental rights.

Since its adoption 20 years ago, the Maputo Protocol has contributed in shifting the trajectory on the promotion and protection of women’s human rights on the continent.

It challenges the old stereotypes about the role of women in society, and places a moral obligation on AU Member States to promote equal opportunities for men and women to play meaningful roles in society.

Under it, women are full, effective and equal partners with men in the development of their communities.

“Let us remind ourselves that discrimination and inequality have unbearable burdens and costs on our economies, societies, and the development of the African continent,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said.

President Akufo-Addo asked his colleague Heads of State whose nations were yet to ratify the Protocol, to do so this year, particularly as the Protocol would turn 20 in July, 2023.

“The Protocol, popularly referred to as the Maputo Protocol, turns 20 this year, and requires us to take stock of how well we have fared toward achieving the goals,” the President noted.

Adopted by Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique, on 11 July 2003, the Protocol advances African women’s rights and guarantees extensive rights to women and girls.

It provides progressive provisions on harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), reproductive health and rights, roles in political processes, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women.