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Sierra Leone News: Maputo Protocol assessment mission in Salone

The delegation posed with AMnet Executive DirectorA  seven member delegation comprises of six  women and a man   from  the Solidarity for African Women’s Right  (SOAWR)  are in the country   on a follow-up mission  towards the ratification of the Maputo Protocol-African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of women and children.
The Protocol is a comprehensive instrument that demonstrates the commitment of African States to end all forms of discrimination, violence and gender stereotypes against women.
Of the 54 Member States of the African Union, eighteen (18) are yet to ratify the Protocol. Sierra Leone is among the countries that are yet to ratify the Protocol which presents an impediment to the realization of women’s rights.
The delegation who arrived on Sunday to know the status of the Protocol, on Monday met with the Executive Director of AMnet, Hawa Samai, to get detailed information.
Explaining to them, the Executive Director said that her organization has been pushing for the domestication of the Protocol since it was signed by the government in June 2003.
She said some of the instruments in the Protocol have been domesticated though the Protocol has not been ratified.
Madam Samai explained that when they started the lobbying for the Child Rights Act it was challenging for them, as some school of thought say Sierra Leone is not yet ready for such laws.
Currently, she said, her organization has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with eight districts for the age consent of 18 years for the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
She said though they have got criticism on the ratification of the Protocol   “we hope that the Protocol will be accepted with no reservation”  as some Members of Parliament are in favor of the domestication of the Protocol.
The delegation which is in the country till the 9th April will be engaging different stakeholders on the ratification campaign.
SOAWR Coalition is a regional network comprised of 44 national, regional, and international civil society organizations working across 24 African countries, working towards the promotion and protection of Women’s human rights in Africa.
Using the SOAWR platform Ipas and Equality Now have agreed to work together to advance the quest for Sierra Leone’s ratification of the Protocol building on 2012 mission Equality Now undertook with WOLPNET, another SOAWR member, in partnership with local organizations; and the work done by Ipas country office in partnership with a local organization.
By Abibatu Kamara
Tuesday April 08, 2014

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