Harmful practices affecting the rights of women

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Extrajudicial killings
Torture cruel inhuman or degrading treatment
Harmful practices affecting the rights of children
Life
Harmful practices affecting the rights of women

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Commission) meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter);

Further Recalling its previous press statements published since its promotional Mission to Cameroon from 1 to 7 February 2011, asking all parties to hold a constructive and inclusive dialogue to end human rights violations in the country, as well as independent and impartial investigations on the alleged human rights violations including extra judicial killings; enforced disappearances; cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and  also requesting a general mission of promotion of human rights ;

Further Recalling the relevant provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter) concerning the protection of the right to life, respect for human dignity, prevention of torture, prevention of extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, and protection of children’s rights;

Conscious of the relevant provisions of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child on ensuring the survival, protection and development of the child, protection and care of children affected by armed conflict, protection and special assistance for children deprived of their family environment;

Recalling Resolution ACHPR/Res. 395 (LXII) 2018 on the Human Rights Situation in Cameroon; and ResolutionACHPR/Res. 405 (LXIII) 2018 on the Continuing Human Rights Violations in the Republic of Cameroon adopted at its62nd Ordinary Session and 63rd Ordinary Session respectively;

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, in particular, about allegations of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; beatings, harassment, especially reports received about killing of children in schools in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, as well as killing of women;

Bearing in mind the Commission's role under Article 45, paragraph 1 (b) of the African Charter, which requires that "principles and rules are formulated and established to resolve legal problems affecting the enjoyment of human and peoples' rights and fundamental freedoms on which African governments can base their legislation;"

Also bearing in mind Cameroon’s obligations under the African Charter; the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and all other human rights instruments the State has ratified;

The Commission:

1.   Reiterates its Condemnation to all forms of violations of rights to which civilians, in particular women and children have been directly or indirectly subjected in the context of the current crises in the Anglophone regions Cameroon;

2.   Encourages the Government to work towards a more peaceful solution to the ongoing crises in order to protect the lives of the civilian population and restore unity and peace to the country;

3.   Calls on the Government to undertake institutional reforms to remedy  what has been dubbed as the Anglophone problem, as well as engage in Dialogue with various actors with the objective of a lasting resolution to the problem;

4.   Calls on the Government to ensure respect for its international obligations under the African Charter; the Maputo Protocol; the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other human rights instruments the State is party to;

5.   While recognizing steps taken by the Government to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, including the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into some of the killings; a National Commission for Bilingualism and Multiculturalism; recruitment of more Anglophone magistrates and bilingual teachers; calls on the Government to authorize a Fact-finding Mission into the country, to enable the Commission ascertain the violations alleged.

Done virtually, on 5 December 2021.

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Women
Equality before the law and equal protection of the law
Equality and non-discrimination
Property
Marriage
Harmful practices affecting the rights of women

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 24th Extra-Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, from 30 July to 8 August 2018; 

Recalling  its mandate to “promote human and peoples’ rights and ensure their protection in Africa”;

Bearing in mind  Resolution ACHPR/Res.262 (LIV)  2013 on Women's Right to Land and Productive Resources; and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa adopted by the African Union in 2009, in particular the provisions relating to strengthening women’s right to land;

Concerned  that lack of access to land and other productive resources continue to have a negative impact on the enjoyment of various human rights for women;

Deeply concerned  that some countries maintain regressive standards when it comes to defining ‘equitable share,’ such that women are not able to enjoy equal property rights upon separation, divorce or annulment of a marriage;

Noting  that women’s access to, use of and control over land and other productive resources are essential to ensuring their right to equality and to an adequate standard of living;

Further noting  the need to clarify various legal issues pertaining to women’s property rights and equality in marriage, particularly in cases of separation, divorce or annulment of a marriage; including clarity on the legal obligations of States so as to  establish a continent-wide standard based on human rights principles;

Considering  that regional and international legal and policy instruments have not been sufficient in setting out a clear foundation for women’s rights to land and other productive resources;

Mindful  of the role of the Commission under Article 45 of the African Charter, to ‘formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights in particular;”

Taking note  of its Resolution ACHPR/Res.327 (LVII) 2015 appointing Hon. Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor as the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa;

Noting  the work already started by the Commission on the thematic issue;

The Commission Decides to:

1.   Elaborate General Comments on Article 7 (d) of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, which requires State Parties to enact appropriate legislation to ensure that women and men enjoy the same rights in case of separation, divorce or annulment of marriage, and that women and men shall have the right to an equitable sharing of the joint property deriving from the marriage in such circumstances;

2.   Collaborate with relevant stakeholders working on issues of land and property rights in the drafting of the General Comments; and

3.   Task Hon. Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor to work on the implementation of this Resolution and report to the 64th Ordinary Session of the Commission.

 

Done in Banjul, Republic of The Gambia, 8 August 2018