Inside this issue:
THE SOAWR COALITION Achieve universal ratification and implementation of the AU Protocol on Women’s Rights
3 Tribute to Elize Delport & Nelson Mandela
October December 2013 Edition
4 Kenya : Enforce FGM & Child Marriage Law 4 FIDA Holds Declaration against FGM 5 Training for West African Lawyers on the Maputo Protocol 5 Study Tour for Lawyers to the ACHPR 6 FIDA Kenya Trains Police Officers 6 AWDF Convening on Women’s Human Rights 7 #JusticeforLiz 8 FEMNET Post-2015 Development Framework 9 FEMNET Celebrates 25 Years 9 Training for Zimbabwean Lawyers on Maputo Protocol 10 ACFODE exhibition calls for commitment against SGBV 11 FIDA Kenya Trains Supreme Court Clerks 11 NEPAD Spanish Fund Visits Equality Now 11 Getting Men on Board 12 COVAW’s 16 Days of Activism Campaign
+ “Human rights are not things that are put on the table for people to enjoy. These are things you fight for and then you protect.” ― Wangari Maathai
13 IPAS Workshop on Safe Abortion Advocacy 13 SOTU Convening for the Pan African Parliament 14 Commemmorating10 Years of the Maputo Protocol 15 Consultation on the Maputo Protocol in South Sudan 15 Africa UNiTE 7th Regional Steering Commitee Meeting
October – December 2013
The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) celebrates 25 years
Upcoming Events African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 21-23 Jan. 2014 : 9th AU Gender Pre-Summit 21-23 Jan. 2014 : 27th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) 27-28 Jan. 2014 : 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council 30-31 Jan. 2014 : 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU
Make Every Woman Count
ICTR Office of the President
18 Jan. 2014 : Make Every Woman Count is celebrating « The Third Anniversary of the African Women’s Decade 20102020 » in London, U.K.
30-31 Jan. 2014: Prosecution of Sexual Violence – An international workshop on conflict-related Sexual and Gender-based violence crimes in light of International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s Experience, Entebbe, Uganda
27-31 Jan. 2014: Equality Now United Nations will convene a regional meeting for its partners working on 6 Feb. 2014 : International Day of eradicating Female Genital Zero Tolerance to FGM Mutilation (FGM) in Nairobi African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 28 Apr. – 12 May 2014 : 55th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR
October – December 2013
In Memory Of Nelson Mandela
While Nelson Mandela’s passing on 5 December 2013 has been very saddening and a tragic moment for South Africa’s history, his memory and legacy will remain with not only citizens of South Africa, but also other Africans and people around the world. Mandela is one of the key human rights icons of our era for transitioning South Africa from apartheid to a democratic state. But we must also remember him for the change he created for South Africa’s women.
A champion for women’s human rights in Africa, Advocate Elize Delport, passed away unexpectedly on 22 December 2013 from a massive pulmonary embolism. Since 2003 Elize was part of the initial group of women’s rights activists who pushed for the adoption of the African Women’s Protocol. Her efforts contributed to the establishment of SOAWR.
From the day Mandela took office as the first president of a democratic South Africa, he advocated for the empowerment of women. At the opening of the first Parliament in 1994, Mandela understood that “freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.” He ensured women’s voices were heard in government by appointing women to over one third of the cabinet positions. He also made sure that women’s role in ending apartheid would be recognized by declaring August 9 Women’s Day, a national holiday, in honor of the 20,000 women who marched in Pretoria on August 9, 1956 to protest apartheid legislation. While drafting the Constitution, he ensured that it protected the right of every South African to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, gender and pregnancy. Mandela’s commitment to women’s reproductive freedom was put into practice with the passage of the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act – one of the most progressive laws on abortion in the world. While Mandela was a staunch advocate for women’s rights and made great strides in improving life for women and girls in South Africa, there is still much to be done to safeguard the human rights of women and girls. We must remember Mandela, and learn from his passion and commitment to advancing the human rights of all people, men and women alike, as we strive to achieve gender equality not only in South Africa, but across the African continent.
Source : http://consortiumnews. com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/ 07/nelsonmandela.jpg
Elize worked tirelessly to promote women’s human rights. She did so in a variety of capacities, in South Africa, throughout the continent, and all over the world. At the time of her passing, Elize was an extra-ordinary lecturer and gender advisor at the Centre for Human Rights, which is an active member of SOAWR. She was also an independent consultant whose expertise was sought after by the UN, academic institutions, governments, and NGOs. She specialised in issues of gender, human rights, HIV and AIDS, disability rights, governance, development, peace-building and workplace transformation. She was also recognised for her expertise on human rights instruments, such as CEDAW and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. SOAWR members have expressed their shock and sadness upon hearing of Elize’s passing. She is remembered for her dedication to advancing women’s human rights, for her kind and generous nature, and for the warmth that she radiated. A loving wife and mother of a 9-year daughter, she balanced her demanding work with her family life with grace and a passion for all her responsibilities whether they were personal or professional. Those who were fortunate to know Elize will miss her, but she will not be forgotten. Her spirit will continue to inspire the work of SOAWR.
Source : Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
October – December 2013
Kenya: Protect girls by enforcing FGM and child marriage laws Pokot, Kenya 10 October 2013 Equality Now has been monitoring multiple cases of Kenyan girls running away from their homes or avoiding going home from school during holidays to escape female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, particularly during the August and December school holidays when mass mutilations are performed. The Pokot region, especially, has had a high number of reports of girls running away from home or refusing to return home from school. Despite the existence of Kenyan laws against FGM and child marriage, it is clear that they are not being implemented in the region to protect girls. xs In the Pokot region, over 50% of girls between the ages of 10 and 21 years have been subjected to FGM; local officials indicate that over 80% of girls either do not join school or drop out prematurely after undergoing FGM, as girls are often married off immediately following the procedure. In Kenya, prevalence rates for FGM and child marriage are approximately 27% and 26%, respectively, but there are significant regional variations with rates as high as 98% in certain regions.
Girls in the Pokot region of Kenya flee their homes to avoid FGM and child marriage
Despite frequent reports about cases of FGM and child marriage and girls escaping to avoid these practices, there have been no known investigations or prosecutions to date in the Pokot region and the government has taken no steps to protect the girls who are running away to avoid being violated. Equality Now issued an action as part of its Equality Action Network in October, calling on the national government of Kenya and the local government in Pokot to take urgent action to ensure that:
• Immediate steps are taken to protect, and provide support and shelter to, girls escaping FGM and child marriage and to ensure that at-risk girls are not subjected to FGM at any time. • Laws against FGM and child marriage are effectively implemented with proper investigation and prosecution of violations. • All concerned national and local level authorities work together to put into place protective measures within at-risk communities to protect girls from both child marriage and FGM, and to ensure that they are able to continue their education. • Awareness-raising and education campaigns are conducted to change cultural perception and beliefs on FGM and child marriage and acknowledging the practices as human rights violations. The full action can be viewed here: http://www.equalitynow.org/take_action/fgm_action521
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) -Kenya organized an event on 11 December 2013 at Mai Mahiu Market to mark a declaration against FGM by members of the local community in Nakuru County on 11 December 2013. The Declaration against FGM was signed between FIDA-Kenya and 12 Maasai Elders in Naivasha Sub-County. The elders publicly condemned FGM as a harmful cultural practice outlawed under the provisions of the Maputo Protocol.
Female traditional circumcisers during the Naivasha Declaration against FGM
October – December 2013
Training for West African Lawyers on the Maputo Protocol Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire 13-15 October 2013 Equality Now and the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR), in partnering with the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), hosted its second training for Francophone lawyers on using the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol) for legal action. Accompanied by experts from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, and the Gambia, seventeen lawyers from French-speaking countries in West and Central Africa that have ratified the Protocol attended the training in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on 13-15 October 2013. Participants came from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Francophone lawyers at the Onomo Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, and Togo. Throughout Hotel in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire the training, the facilitator and experts discussed how to use the Protocol in litigation before national and regional judicial mechanisms and how to develop effective litigation strategies, as well as encouraged lawyers to push for progressive legal precedents that can influence the enactment of new laws and policies that reflect the rights provided for in the Protocol. The topics addressed during the training helped the participating lawyers to develop the capacity to use the Protocol in legal cases on women’s and girls’ rights and to enact and/or implement laws and policies that properly reflect the rights protected in the Protocol, as well as develop an action plan on how to use the Protocol to address women’s rights violations, especially at the regional level.
Study Tour for Lawyers to the 54th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR Banjul, The Gambia 17-25 October 2013 Equality Now organised a tour for five lawyers, who have attended its lawyers’ trainings on using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for legal action, to attend the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in Banjul, The Gambia from 17-25 October 2013. This tour was intended to give lawyers – who expressed a keen interest in understanding the African human rights system better – (1) firsthand experience in engaging with the ACHPR as a possible venue for litigating women’s and girls’ rights cases; (2) to build on the training lawyers received on using the Protocol through active participation in the NGO Forum and 54th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR; (3) to give lawyers an opportunity to network and discuss litigation strategies and lessons learnt with other lawyers, human rights advocates, African Commissioners, NGOs and other stakeholders; and (4) to give litigants an opportunity to meet with their country Commissioners to address human rights issues in their respective countries. The five lawyers from Namibia, Lesotho, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe attended the NGO Forum, the 54th Ordinary The NGO Forum Organized by the African Session of the ACHPR, and side events hosted by NGOs and Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies other stakeholders.
SOAWR The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya trained police officers from Kisumu County on 24th October 2013 at the Kisumu Provincial Police training Centre, Kenya. The 26 police officers representing various police stations in Kisumu County were trained on sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls and the relevant provisions of the Kenyan Constitution and Maputo Protocol, namely Article 14.
October – December 2013
Left to right Rosaline Obeng-Ofori, Theo Sowa, Everjoice Win and Dr. Sylvia Tamale at the AWDF Convening on Women’s Human Rights
The African Women’s Development Fund’s Convening on Women’s Human Rights 30-31 October 2013 Nairobi, Kenya AWDF organised a Convening in Nairobi, Kenya on women’s human rights (WHR), from the 30 – 31 October 2013. This was a unique space for activists, academics, researchers, AWDF’s grantee partners and policy makers to deliberate on current WHR issues, identify strategic ways of intervening and how best to maximize impact on the ground. The convening objectives were; To understand the context in which women’s human rights organisations operate on policy advocacy work in the region To identify critical issues and map out strategies for maximising impact For over 10 years, AWDF has provided resources to ensure the needs, aspirations and contributions of African women to promoting and protecting WHR are recognised, supported and valued. Participants at the convening recognised that through the hard work of activists, many countries had enacted laws and policies to protect and promote WHR. The numbers of women in decision making positions at national levels have increased significantly in many countries with Rwanda at 64% having the highest number of women in Parliament in the whole world. However it was noted that in most areas progress was far from sufficient. There are several systemic challenges that need to be addressed. Key among the challenges were: The rights discourse has not fully covered the economic and social rights whose marginalisation results in increased poverty and landlessness among women. There have been insufficient efforts to build capacities of judicial officers on using the international instruments for WHR. A countervailing force in the form of invisible and hidden power is derailing the progress made in the policy and legal field. There is an absence of a common ideology and vision of the change women want to see. Poverty continues to wear the face of a woman yet efforts towards poverty reduction targeted at women tend to deal with ‘politically safe’ issues such as girl child education, health initiatives and child care. Issues which challenge the patriarchal order are seldom challenged including women’s access to land, capital and other productive resources and trafficking in women. Neither is sufficient work being done on how climate change impacts negatively on women’s efforts to secure livelihoods. The convening identified priority areas for transformational change in WHR work going forward, such as involving more African feminists in decision making regarding economic devleopmnet, revamping and strengthening the women’s movement, develop a political programme to launch an assault on patriarchy, and move away from the welfare approach.
October – December 2013
#JusticeforLiz In Busia, Kenya, a 16 year old girl, Liz was beaten and gang-raped on her way home from her grandfather's funeral and dumped in a pit latrine. She was wheelchair bound and had the worst case of fistula until her surgeries repaired both. She recognized her rapists and identified them to the police. Police arrested perpetrators only to have them slash grass upon which they were released. COVAW and FEMNET joined in with other women’s rights organizations in Kenya to demand Justice for Liz. This included starting a petition on Avaaz that got more than one million signatures as well as involving members attending FEMNET’s Programming Conference to participate in a march on the 31st of October 2013. Since then a perpetrator has been arrested and a smaller working group was formed within the core group of organizations to ensure that the rest are brought to justice. NO MORE VIOLENCE!
Protesters March on 31st October 2013 to Demand #JusticeforLiz
After COVAW and other civil society organizations took to the streets on 31st October 2013 calling for police action on Liz's case, the Inspector General (I.G) of the National Police Service released a statement on 2 November 2013 stating that there is no sufficient evidence in the case to sustain gang rape charges. This was in contradiction of the law. The Sexual Offences Act 2006 under Section 40 stipulates that the decision as to whether the prosecution or investigation by any police officer of a complaint that a sexual offence has been committed should be discontinued shall rest with the Attorney General. Under the new dispensation, this sole mandate to discontinue any investigation or prosecution of a sexual offence rests with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). The I.G’s inference towards discontinuance of investigations on gang rape is completely outside his mandate. The National Council on Administration of Justice then took up the case after witnessing no substantive action being taken, and promised to look into the case and ensure that justice is served. The NCAJ’s mandate. COVAW shall be liaising with the NCAJ in order to ensure that the case progresses appropriately in the coming months. The DPP also released a statement on 16th November 2013 on the case after having a meeting with COVAW, where the following recommendations were made. A new team of investigators to be constituted by the Director of Criminal Investigations. The officers should be senior from the Head Office and preferably female. They should be well equipped and knowledgeable in matters of SGBV nature. COVAW continues to wait for the results of the reinvestigation ordered by the office of the DPP: the 21 day moratorium lapsed on the second week of December 2013. Sometime in December 2013, one of the suspects in the case was arrested after he had gone back to Tingolo to do his final exams. He was arraigned in a Court in Busia and is in remand after bail was denied. He is being held on holding charges awaiting the results of the reinvestigation. The matter is coming up for mention in late January 2014 and COVAW hopes that the results of the re- investigation will have been released by then.
October – December 2013
FEMNET Engagement : Post-2015 Development Framework Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 9-11 November 2013 From November 9-11 2013, FEMNET in partnership with the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC),
Akina Mama wa Afrika, Isis – WICCE and Women Major Groups, held a regional strategic meeting on strengthening women’s advocacy in Post 2015 processes. This meeting was a follow up to several consultations FEMNET had co-convened with many African rights organisations on Post 2015 agenda. This strategy meeting also followed one held ahead of the regional CPD Review Conference in September in Addis Ababa. The November meeting brought together 40 participants representing a diverse group of women across Africa. The key outputs of the meeting included key recommendations on how gender equality, women's rights and empowerment and sexual and reproductive health and rights can be achieved in the current Africa Common Position (ACP) on Post 2015. The document which recommends a standalone gender equality goal/pillar and gives clear targets and indicators for this goal as well as mainstreams gender throughout all the proposed pillars of the current draft ACP was shared at the Committee on Women and Development (CWD) as well as at the Southern Africa consultations on Agenda 2063. The document has also been disseminated to partners working on drafting the ACP including the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The document has also been disseminated widely to African Missions in New York such as Botswana, Congo, Liberia, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The document is currently being revised following its dissemination. FEMNET also participated at the 6th Open Working Group (OWG) Session on Sustainable Development Goals as a Member of the Women Major Groups that took place from the 9-14 December 2013 in New York. The 6th OWG Session focused on human rights, governance, Africa and countries in special needs. Key recommendations following this session were:
Integrating women’s human rights in the development agenda taking into account the diversity of needs and constraints faced by women Eliminating all forms of discrimination against all girls and women and diminish gender inequalities Preventing and eliminating gender based violence Guaranteeing adolescents and women’s sexual and reproductive rights Ensuring women’s rights to and control over land, property and productive resources Recognizing and redistributing the unequal and unfair burdens on women and girls in sustaining societal wellbeing and economies Ensuring women’s meaningful participation in decision-making
16 Days of Activism As part of the 16 Days Of Activism, FEMNET’s engaged in a number of activities including; engagement of religious and cultural leaders on FGM advocacy in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya as well as the launch of Million Fathers Campaign in Nakuru, and participated in a charity walk dubbed “No Excuse for Abuse” organized by African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) – Kenya chapter (a member of FEMNET).
October – December 2013
FEMNET Celebrates 25 years by Holding its 6th Programming Conference & General Assembly Nairobi, Kenya 30 October – 1 November 2013
FEMNET celebrates 25 years at the Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
FEMNET held its 6th Programming Conference & General Assembly from 30th Oct to 1st Nov under the theme ‘Driving the Development Agenda: Realizing the Future We Want for All’. The conference saw members from over 25 African countries convening in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss and deliberate on this issue. At the General Assembly, FEMNET members came together to network, define priorities and strategize around the next Strategic Plan for FEMNET 2014- 2018. In addition, members voted in a new Board for FEMNET that will steer the organization for the coming three years. It was also at this Programming Conference that FEMNET celebrated 25 years with members, partners, and SOAWR members including Equality Now and friends in Nairobi, Kenya.
In-Country Training for Zimbabwean Women Lawyers on the Maputo Protocol Harare, Zimbabwe 18-19 November 2013 Equality Now, in partnership with the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA), hosted a lawyers’ training on the 18th and 19th November 2013 in Harare, Zimbabwe, to promote the use of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol). The training targeted ZWLA members, lawyers and law firms/associations of female lawyers in Zimbabwe. The meeting provided step by step guidance on using the Protocol at both national and regional levels, bringing complaints of violations to the Protocol to African regional human rights mechanisms, and how to engage in strategic litigation and use international human rights instruments in the Zimbabwe context. This was the eighth such training organized by Equality Now, and the first in-country training. The participants engaged in exercises including a moot court presentation using real cases concerning the issues facing Zimbabwean women, for instance, dealing with the discriminatory application of a law prohibiting loitering for the purposes of prostitution, and the Termination of Pregnancy Act. The training targeted these issues as unique in Zimbabwe, and taught the lawyers how to Participants at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Harare, use the Protocol and the African Charter to deal with these Zimbabwe challenges in domestic courts, and how to potentially litigate similar cases at the regional level.
October – December 2013
ACFODE public exhibition calls for commitment against SGBV Kampala, Uganda 19 November 2013 SOAWR member Action for Development (ACFODE), a Ugandan non-governmental women organization opened the “16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence” Campaign with the launch of a public exhibition under the theme “Know your role in the fight against sexual and gender based violence” in Kampala on 19th November 2013. The Exhibition was part of celebrating ACFODE’s celebrations of 28 years of existence. It was attended by different stakeholders that included development partners, CSO fraternity, media, academia, youth, founders, members and staff of ACFODE. The exhibition that aimed at reviving commitments of policy makers, duty bearers and citizens against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) was composed of artworks and photography by different Ugandan artists depicting the state of gender equality in Uganda. During the celebration, Jason Ntaro, a poet with FEMRITE described a situation experienced daily by many women: “Broken bone, broken back, broken heart and broken soul. But that pain is bearable, when you are in love.” In light of this, the key painting “Utopia“ by Otii Nixon appears like a sign of hope for a world where gender roles are shared equally and peacefully. Among her beneficiaries and partners ACFODE identified six positive role models for the exhibition to provide direction for every stakeholder and citizen to know their roles in the fight against SGBV. “We plan to boost our commitments to fight Sexual and Gender Based Violence and we call upon all of you to join us in this fight”, Said ACFODE Executive Director Ms. Regina Bafaki. In the same regard, ACFODE also launched a petition to The Parliament of Uganda to end sexual violence against women and children. So far, more than 300 people have appended their signatures. The public exhibition that was also shown at The Uganda Museum helped in raising awareness on SGBV, getting renewed commitments and identifying avenues for future activities most especially actively involving the youth and staying united to keep the candle burning. Plans are underway to hold the exhibition in Kisoro one of the districts where ACFODE implements interventions aimed at addressing SGBV.
“Utopia” - This is the epitome of life.
“Utopia” - This is the epitome of life
Launch of ACFODE public exhibition in November 2013
Launch of ACFODE public exhibition in November 2013
October – December 2013
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya convened a training and capacity building workshop for the Supreme Court Law Clerks and Legal Researchers on 19 November 2013 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. 22 Legal Researchers and Law Clerks from the Kenyan Supreme Court were trained on the provisions of the Maputo Protocol and other international instruments as regarding sexual and reproductive rights. This allowed for analysis of the magnitude and increase in maternal deaths in Kenya in line with recent studies, and built an understanding among the clerks and researchers of the legislative framework of access to reproductive health services in Kenya. This also allowed those trained to explore the role of the police and the judiciary in reducing maternal mortality as agents of change.
NEPAD Spanish Fund Visits Equality Now Nairobi, Kenya 18-21 November 2013 Between 18th-21st November 2013, Dr. Justina Dugbazah and Mr. Wazir Sanga of the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women's Empowerment (NEPAD SF) conducted a mid term assessment mission at Equality Now's Nairobi Office. During this time, Dr. Dugbazah and Mr. Sanga engaged with Equality Now Nairobi staff and its partners to access both technical and financial compliance with regard to activities supported under a 2 year project supported by NEPAD SF whose goals include ensuring that that at least Burundi, Ethiopia, Guinea and Sudan ratify the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (hereafter the Protocol) by 2014; At least 2-3 countries take a multi-sectoral approach to implementation of the Protocol; The government of Sudan amends its rape and public order laws and The Government of Guinea domesticates the Protocol. On behalf of SOAWR, Equality Now would like to take this opportunity to thank NEPAD SF for continued support of the coalition's work.
Getting Men on Board 21-24 November 2013 Supporting men to develop and acquire awareness on violence against women, what it means and how it affects societies is one of SIHA’s agenda. Against this backdrop, a training was organised from 21st-24th November 2013, with a goal of developing a methodology to work with men against violence against women. A total of 30 men from SIHA member organisations- Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda including SIHA male staff were in attendance. They explored issues like concepts of gender, masculinity, and their different country contexts. It was a participatory training that was intended to get men talking and relate to their ‘self’ and contexts. SIHA will continue working with men towards eradicating all forms of violence against women.
Men at SIHA’s Training
October – December 2013
COVAW’s Activities During the 16 Days of Activism Campaign to End Violence against Women Kenya 25 November – 10 December 2013 COVAW conducted various offline as well as online campaigns, during the 2013 16 Days of Activism period in an effort to escalate awareness on the need for prevention of and effective response to cases of Violence against Women. It has also especially tapped into the media as an advocacy platform. On the ground, COVAW conducted mass processions in Nine (9) Counties around the country: Nakuru, Kajiado, Nairobi, Samburu, Kisumu, Kisii, Migori, Narok and Busia Counties. In all these areas, the ‘mass actions’ were planned in partnership with the respective County and security sector officials in line with 2013’s theme sub-facet of, Ensuring state accountability and responsibility in addressing violence against women.‛ The 16 Days of Activism 2013 Campaign was crowned vide the, Champions Dinner, which was held on 10th December 2013 at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi. The second of its kind held by COVAW, the dinner was specifically held in order to appreciate, applaud, celebrate and publicly recognize ‘sixteen’ (16) individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty in championing social justice issues and, given a voice to the voiceless in their communities. The event was graced by the Nairobi County Women’s Representative, Hon. Rachel Shebesh, representatives from numerous Civil Society Organizations, the sixteen (16) ‘Champions of Change’ selected from across the country for their outstanding work in fighting Violence Against Women and, other distinguished guests. One of the highlights of the evening was a session led by COVAW’s Executive Director, Ms Saida Ali. The session dubbed, 16 Minutes of Darkness‛ was based on the experiences of women and girls of violence – that violence against women throws women and girls into a dark place. Based on the belief that violence against women occurs due to unequal power relations and abuse of the same in society, COVAW led all persons in attendance through the, I’ve Got the Power Session. It is there during the session that all persons recognized that they have the power to effect and realize change in the society. Ms. Ali further gave a short speech on the prevalence of violence against women in the country and, what each of us as individuals can do to end this reality. Hon. Rachel Shebesh then followed with a talk on how violence cuts across all social, economic and political demographics, having been a victim herself. She urged women to stand up, speak out and seek help. Her message resonated with guests who applauded her courage in speaking out on the need to break the silence and the cycle of violence against women.
COVAW’s 16 Days of Activism Events in Samburu and Kisumu
October – December 2013
IPAS Workshop on Effective Communication for Safe Abortion Advocacy in Africa Nairobi, Kenya 26-28 November 2013 The Ipas Africa Alliance held a communications workshop with the theme “Breaking the silence: effective communication for safe abortion advocacy in Africa.” Ipas gathered Champions from 10 African countries namely Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The main objectives of the workshop were as follows; • Provide an opportunity to critically analyze the existing advocacy messages utilized by various champions ; • Review, make inputs to and adopt key messages for use by champions working at various levels ; • Strengthen skills on how to communicate about abortion including •
dealing with anti-choice actors ; and Map out key policy moments where messages will be utilized.
Media and communications expert Dr. Namburete, facilitating the workshop
The outcome of the workshop was that the key messages developed by the Ipas Africa Alliance were validated by the Champions whose capacity on communication and engaging the media and other stakeholders on the issue of access to safe abortion was also built. Ipas plans to hold a subsequent workshop to disseminate the messages.
SOTU Convened a Workshop for Members of the Pan African Parliament Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 5-6 December 2013 The State of the Union (SOTU) Coalition organised a capacity building plan on monitoring and advocating for the ratification, domestication and implementation of African Union (AU) legal instruments for members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) representing Eastern Africa. The workshop attracted about 35 Members of Parliament (MPs) from the region. African Governments have developed and acceded to several instruments in the form of protocols, conventions, treaties and declarations including human rights instruments. However there is a huge gap between continental commitments and the reality on the ground. Most of these commitments are not translated into implementable plans and programmes at regional and country levels. Unless this gap between policy and practice is addressed, the policies developed at the level of the African Union will have no impact on Africa’s development, fundamental freedoms and human rights deserved by African citizens. This workshop built the capacity of PAP members to monitor and advocate for the domestication and implementation of the AU instruments. The workshop created an understanding of the Key AU decisions with a particular focus on the Charter on Democracy, Elections and Good Governance as well as identified modalities and mechanisms for the MPs to push for implementation of AU decisions. It allowed participants to review progress and challenges related to implementation of AU commitments at the national level within the East African region, and to share knowledge and experiences on some of the practical ways to operationalize the Democracy Charter. Faiza Mohamed, the Nairobi Office Director of Equality Now, presented on the experiences and lesson learned by Equality Now and the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition in pushing for the African Women's Protocol over the last 10 years. This session exposed the PAP members to the Protocol, the strategies used to achieve ratification and implementation thereof, challenges in achieving the implementation of the Protocol at the national level, and to make recommendations for how the MPs can support the implementation of the Protocol.
October – December 2013
Conference Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the Maputo Protocol Pretoria, South Africa 9-10 December 2013 The Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law convened a conference to Commemorate the 10 th Anniversary on the Maputo Protocol. The theme of the conference was “Exploring possibilities for promoting women’s sexual and reproductive rights.” The Conference dealt with five main themes relating to Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa as well as Article 10(3). These themes included: a) Women and HIV b) Access to Safe Abortion c) Women’s reproductive rights and the role of resources d) Women’s Sexual Rights e) The sexual and reproductive health rights of lesbian and bisexual women Attendees of the Conference were mainly a mix of academicians, researchers, practitioners and graduate students from across the continent. Ipas Africa Alliance presented a paper on “Reducing maternal mortality and morbidity through liberalisation of the restrictive abortion law and national scale-up of comprehensive abortion care (CAC) in Ethiopia.” The paper demonstrated how Ethiopia’s strategic approach to addressing unsafe abortion is yielding impressive results, as indicated by progress in the five regions where the government is partnering with Ipas to expand access to CAC. In 2004, the Ethiopian government liberalised access to safe, legal abortion as a strategy for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity and protecting women’s reproductive rights. This was followed by legal reform and evidence-based advocacy over a period of years by a broad-based coalition representing government and civil-society stakeholders, including the medical and legal professions, women’s groups and others. From left to right: Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Dr Pregs Govender, Deputy Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, HE Kari M. Bjørnsgaard, Ambassador of Norway and Kego Mogoditswe, Programme Officer
The revised abortion law is in line with Article 14 (2) (c) of the Protocol. It has not only created a favorable environment for women to exercise their reproductive rights but has also paved the way for reducing maternal morbidity and mortality from unsafe abortion in Ethiopia. The Ethiopia case was well received by conference participants, many of whom were glad to have another case other than the already popular South Africa case to be used as a basis for advocacy for abortion law reform.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)-Kenya also gave a presentation at the meeting. The presentation focused on exploring possibilities for promoting women’s sexual and reproductive health rights. The event was a two-day dialogue with more than 30 participants on the various aspects of Article 14 of the Maputo Protocol. FIDA Provided a Kenyan perspective on the right to access safe abortion services, and interrogated the provisions of the Maputo Protocol regarding Article 14 in particular.
October – December 2013
Consultative Workshop on the Maputo Protocol for Lawyers in South Sudan Juba, South Sudan 10-11 December 2013 Equality Now and the SOAWR Coalition in partnership with the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) and the South Sudan Women Lawyers Association (SSWLA) co-convened a consultative workshop on using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Juba, South Sudan on 10-11 December 2013. The training targeted about 30 lawyers of the SSLS and SSWLA who are spread across the public and private sectors in South Sudan. The workshop provided an opportunity to interrogate the Protocol in the context of South Sudan, along the thematic areas of governance and participation in decision-making, equality and nondiscrimination, and the economic, social and cultural rights of women. The lawyers engaged in a comparative analysis of the Protocol and the Constitution of South Sudan. The workshop built the Dolly Anek Odwong of Skills for South Sudan presents on women women’s economic, social and cultural rights
capacity of lawyers in their mobilization and sensitization of women to participate in the ongoing Constitutional Review process and effective engagement in advocacy for the ratification of the Protocol. The participants developed strategies to sensitize communities on the rights of women and girls.
Africa UNiTE Campaign to End VAWGs 7th Regional Steering Committee Meeting Djibouti, Djibouti 12-13 December 2013 Launched globally in 2008 and in Africa in 2010, UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWGs) Campaign is the UN Secretary General’s (UNSG’s) response to the call of women all over the world for sustainable efforts to eliminate VAWGs. Africa UNiTE, the regional component of the UNSG’s Campaign, is a continent-wide partnership between the UN System, African Union Commission, AU Member States, development partners, CSOs, the media, African youths and community leaders. The Regional Steering Committee (RSC) of the Africa UNiTE Campaign held its seventh meeting on 12-13 December 2013 in Djibouti, Djibouti. The RSC is co-chaired by the AUC, UN Women, UNFPA and UNECA. The Committee members include: the AUC, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UNECA, UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, UNDP, Regional NGOs such as Alliance for Arab Women, Gender Links, WILDAF, SOAWR and FEMNET as well as donor agencies represented by Denmark and Sweden. The meeting offered opportunities for mutual review and accountability on what regions, agencies and partners are doing towards achieving Campaign goals; for reaching consensus on the strategic focus for the years to come; and serve as forums for mutual updates, exchange of experiences and give guidance, especially to the Secretariat. Members renewed their commitments to strengthening the Campaign Secretariat and speeding up realization of Campaign objectives by 2015. Faiza Mohamed, the Nairobi Office Director for Equality Now and the SOAWR Secretariat, delivered a presentation at the meeting about SOAWR’s engagement in ending VAW in Africa. She highlighted several activities undertaken recently by SOAWR members. Some of the key successes of these organizations’ efforts include a petition to prosecute perpetrators of a gang rape in Busia, Kenya for which the Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW) and the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) obtained over 1.2 million signatures; a three-year program to end sexual violence in schools by empowering girls by Equality Now in Zambia ; and the development of Zero Tolerance guidelines for ending VAW for use by stakeholders including governments by Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMWA) in the Great Lakes region. Copies of a film on ending sexual violence in schools in Zambia titled « Zambia : Our Girls, Our Future – Addressing Sexual Violence in Schools » that Equality Now produced in 2013 was distributed.
October – December 2013
Maputo Protocol Status Report December 2012: Signed – 47 Ratified – 34 December 2013: Signed – 48 Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe Ratified – 36 Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe States that have neither signed nor ratified - 3 Botswana, Egypt, Tunisia Source: African Union Commission: http://www.au.int/en/sites/default/files/Rights%20of%20Women.pdf
October – December 2013
About the SOAWR Coalition The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) is a coalition of 43 civil society organizations in 23 African countries dedicated to protecting and advancing African women’s rights. SOAWR is working to ensure that the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa remains on the agenda of policy makers and to urge all African leaders to safeguard the rights of women through ratification and implementation of the Protocol.
Members of the Coalition BURKINA FASO: Voix de Femmes; BURUNDI: Collectif des Associations et ONGs Féminines de Burundi (CAFOB); CAMEROON: Women’s Advocacy and Communication Network, Women Peace Initiatives Association; DJIBOUTI: Union Nationale des Femmes de Djibouti; EGYPT: Association of Egyptian Female Lawyers; ETHIOPIA: Inter-African Committee on Harmful Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children; THE GAMBIA: African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies; GHANA: African Women’s Development Fund; GUINEA: Cellule de Coordination sur les Pratiques Traditionelles Affectant la Santé des Femmes et des Enfants (CPTAFE); KENYA: African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Coalition on Violence against Women (COVAW), Equality Now (Secretariat), Ipas Africa Alliance for Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights, FAHAMU Networks for Social Justice, Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, Oxfam GB, Reproductive Health and Rights Alliance, Tomorrow’s Child Initiative, Women Direct; LIBERIA: Women of Liberia Peace Network, Women NGO’s Secretariat of Liberia; MALAWI: NGO Gender Coordination Network; MALI: Association des Juristes Maliennes; MOZAMBIQUE: Forum Mulher; NAMIBIA: Sister Namibia; NIGERIA: Alliances for Africa, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, Human Rights Law Service, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives (WRAPA); SENEGAL: Inter-African Network for Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV), FAHAMU Networks for Social Justice; SOUTH AFRICA: People Opposing Women Abuse, University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights; SUDAN: Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA); TANZANIA: Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC); UGANDA: Action for Development, Akina Mama wa Afrika, Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations, Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), Uganda Women’s Network; ZAMBIA: Women and Law Southern Africa, Women in Law and Development in Africa; ZIMBABWE: Girl Child Network