THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Women's watch - Bulletin 1 / 2008
January 06, 2008

News Flash

2007 ended on a high note with both Houses of Parliament approving the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. The instrument of ratification has still to be signed by the President and then lodged with the AU before the Government is obligated to give effect to the Protocol. According to our Constitution international instruments are not automatically part of Zimbabwean law and therefore the provisions of the Protocol will still need to be incorporated by Act of Parliament.

Coming up for 2008 - the Year of Zimbabwean Women

This year we are going to make an all-out effort to get the provisions of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and of CEDAW incorporated into our Constitution and laws [which still discriminate against women]. At the same time there is work to be done on the SADC Gender Protocol which has still to be adopted. Strengthening the constitutional and legal foundations for gender equality and women’s rights is only part of the struggle for a just society. Women’s and other civic organisations and activists have been steadily working to get gender equality and women’s rights embedded into State institutions, the justice delivery system and society in general. Women’s Watch will be highlighting their work.

Commencing today and continuing in subsequent issues, we will focus on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.

Highlights from the ACHPR Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

1 – The Preamble

The preamble sets out the background to and objectives of the Protocol. We cite the preamble in full as it encapsulates all the issues that we in Zimbabwe are fighting to have included in an Amendment to Section 23 of our Constitution.

“CONSIDERING that Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights enshrines the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status;

FURTHER CONSIDERING that Article 18 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights calls on all States Parties to eliminate every discrimination against women and to ensure the protection of the rights of women as stipulated in international declarations and conventions;

NOTING that Articles 60 and 61 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights recognise regional and international human rights instruments and African practices consistent with international norms on human and peoples' rights as being important reference points for the application and interpretation of the African Charter;

RECALLING that women's rights have been recognised and guaranteed in all international human rights instruments, notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Optional Protocol, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and all other international and regional conventions and covenants relating to the rights of women as being inalienable, interdependent and indivisible human rights;

NOTING that women's rights and women's essential role in development, have been reaffirmed in the United Nations Plans of Action on the Environment and Development in 1992, on Human Rights in 1993, on Population and Development in 1994 and on Social Development in 1995;

RECALLING ALSO United Nations Security Council's Resolution 1325 (2000) on the role of Women in promoting peace and security;

REAFFIRMING the principle of promoting gender equality as enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the African Union as well as the New Partnership for Africa's Development, relevant Declarations, Resolutions and Decisions, which underline the commitment of the African States to ensure the full participation of African women as equal partners in Africa's development;

FURTHER NOTING that the African Platform for Action and the Dakar Declaration of 1994 and the Beijing Platform for Action of 1995 call on all Member States of the United Nations, which have made a solemn commitment to implement them, to take concrete steps to give greater attention to the human rights of women in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination and of gender-based violence against women;

RECOGNISING the crucial role of women in the preservation of African values based on the principles of equality, peace, freedom, dignity, justice, solidarity and democracy;

BEARING IN MIND related Resolutions, Declarations, Recommendations, Decisions, Conventions and other Regional and Sub-Regional Instruments aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination and at promoting equality between women and men;

CONCERNED that despite the ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other international human rights instruments by the majority of States Parties, and their solemn commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination and harmful practices against women, women in Africa still continue to be victims of discrimination and harmful practices;

FIRMLY CONVINCED that any practice that hinders or endangers the normal growth and affects the physical and psychological development of women and girls should be condemned and eliminated;

DETERMINED to ensure that the rights of women are promoted, realised and protected in order to enable them to enjoy fully all their human rights;”

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.