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African Union and United Nations reporting on Women’s Rights

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- Daunting challenges remain towards ensuring full realization of women rights in Africa despite significant progresses on the continent, says a new report.
Commissioned by the African Union (AU), together with the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Women, the report on Women’s Rights in Africa, was launched on Tuesday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

The report assesses progress made in advancing women’s rights using specific thematic areas where protection gaps persist and action needed, including sexual and reproductive health; women with albinism; sexual and gender based violence; harmful practices; laws that discriminate women; women, peace, and security; and women in prison.

Speaking during the launch ceremony, Jean Mfasoni, Special Advisor to the Chairperson of the AU Commission, noted that tremendous progresses have been achieved in the area of women empowerment and development in Africa.

He reiterated that various measures have been taken by the pan-African bloc in the promotion and protection of women’s rights on the continent.

The official has mentioned among others the protocol to the African charter on human and peoples’ rights on the rights of women in Africa, which is referred to as the Maputo Protocol, that have been integrated into several constitutions and into national laws and policies.

The report notes that there is progress in the area of political participation of women in Africa.


ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- A participant stands next to a poster during a launching ceremony for the report on women’s rights in Africa, ahead of the International Women’s Day, in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, March 7, 2017. The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change.” XINHUA PHOTO: MICHAEL TEWELDE

Despite this and other measures, says the report, the remaining challenges and gaps for the full realization of women’s rights is daunting.

In every country on the continent, as is the case globally, women continue to be denied full enjoyment of rights, argues the report.

In Africa, one in three women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lifetime; in six countries, there is no legal protection for women against domestic violence, according to the report.

In 2013, African women and girls accounted for 62 percent (179,000) of all global deaths from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; in sub-Saharan Africa women comprises the highest percentage of new HIV infections.

An estimated 130 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM (female genital mutilation), mainly in Africa; and 125 million African women and girls alive today were married before the age of 18, according to the report.

Protection gaps in the areas of health, marriage and family relations are particularly striking as is the non-recognition of intersectional forms of discrimination, says the report.

In many countries, these gaps are also compounded by political instability and conflict, adds the report.

The report calls on African governments to, among others, strengthen support for institutions in relation to gender equality and empowerment of women, including the systematic integration of a gender perspective in all ministries as well as national human rights institutions.

It calls for adoption of targets to ensure women full and productive employment, and decent work, and recognition and valuing unpaid care and domestic work.

The report also calls on governments to ensure women can access and control their own economic and financial resources.



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