Judicial Protection of Women’s Rights in Africa

Every day, women face discrimination in many ways. Be it access to land, heritage and sexual or gender-based violence. Human rights instruments  guarantee specific rights of women.  Women’s rights in Africa are enshrined in the Maputo Protocol which complements the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But what if national legal systems do not comply?

To ensure the protection of an individual’s human rights , the African Union established the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) in 2006. However, to date not a single case has been filed  on women’s rights. Other addressees of women’s rights violation can be the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Court of Justice of the East-African Community or the ECOWAS Court of Justice. GIZ supports the litigation on women’s rights by bringing Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) together to identify potential cases that could be brought to the Court. Since not all African Union member states have recognized the Court’s jurisdiction or ratified the Maputo Protocol, CSOs are also supported in advocating for ratification.

Only two weeks ago, in Nairobi/Kenya, CSOs shared information on advocacy strategies, agreed to use articles from the Maputo Protocol in their litigation work and collaborate to identify specific cases. Also, specific questions regarding the interpretation of the Maputo Protocol will be identified to address the Court for an advisory opinion.

To use synergies, the continental ‘GIZ Programme Supporting the African Governance Architecture (AGA)’ is planning to approach other programmes at regional or country level working on women’s rights.


For more information please contact Michael.klode@giz.de or Sonja.leguizamon@giz.de and see the factsheets ‘GIZ AGA Programme’and ‘Cooperation with the African Human Rights System’.



Workshop in Nairobi on the Maputo Protocol



Posted in Gender Week Blog, Year 2015