By Tina S. Mehnpaine
A three day gathering aimed at reaffirming the principle of promoting gender equality as enshrined in the constructive Act of the African Union (AU) and other declarations and conventions has come to an end in Monrovia.
The objective of the conference, which began on March 2, 2020, was to validate the Maputu Protocol on Women accessing equal rights as their male counterparts in Africa’s development.
The conference emphasized on issues surrounding the rights of women and Girls in Liberia as reported report to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and the protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights about the rights of women in Africa.
It was jointly organized by the Ministries of Justice (MOJ) and of Gender, Child and Social Protection (MGCSP), in collaboration with the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
In his opening remarks, Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musa Dean reminded his audience that the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is directly promoting and protecting human rights and the rights of women and girls.
”Government will continue to promote a constructive dialogue on human rights” Cllr. Dean said.
According to him, the protection of human rights is an ultimate tool to help society grow in freedom, ensure equality for all, advance sustainable development, prevent conflicts and to review human conflict and build a peaceful society for all.
Also making remarks, Dr. Nkatha Murungi, Assistant Director Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, said her institution promotes human rights.
“We provide advocacy, research and educative programs on humans’ rights for women and Girls. We remain committed to the protection of human rights on the African continent,” Murungi said.
According to Dr. Murungi, the Center for Human Rights in her country is deliberate when it comes to focusing on human rights issues in Africa, adding, that they provide doctorate degree to advance human rights issues at their University in South Africa.
As for Babatunde Olanrewaju Ajisomo, ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, his delight is that Liberia and other countries are beginning to sign, ratify and establish regular reports on the Maputo protocol.
”African Charter on Human and People’s Rights have extensively been debated and discussed” Ajisomo said.
He noted that the Charter on Human and People’s Rights is very important to ECOWAS, especially the protocol on human rights.
He further said the validation process is at a very opportune time because the International of Day of Women is expected soon, on March 8.
“This exercise is a noble one, especially approaching the International Women’s Day, which is devoted to equality,” he noted.
The Protocol recognizes the crucial role of women in the preservation of African values based on the principle of equality, peace, freedom, dignity, justice, among others.
It states that women are still the victims of harmful practices which should be condemned and eliminated.
The Maputo Protocol was developed to provide a more comprehensive framework and specific guarantees for the protection of women’s rights. It guarantees comprehensive rights to women, which include widow’s rights, special protection for women in stress, right to inheritance and special protection for elderly women. Special protection for women with disabilities is also highlighted in the Maputo Protocol.