20TH ANNIVERSARY OF MAPUTO PROTOCOL: NHRC reaffirms commitment to Women’s Rights

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)has joined the rest of Africa and the global human rights community to mark the 20th anniversary of the Maputo Protocol, an essential instrument for the advancement of women’s rights on the African continent.


The Executive Secretary of the Commission Chief Tony Ojukwu said the Commission reflected upon this significant milestone and acknowledged the strides made towards gender equality in the African Continent.


He stated this on the eve of the Commemoration of the two decades of adoption of the Protocol, noted that several challenges still persist in achieving women’s civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights on the continent of Africa.


The Maputo Protocol, also known as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, was adopted in Maputo, Mozambique by the Heads of States and Government of the African Union on the 11th of July 2003, to promote and protect the rights of women in Africa.


The Protocol offered protection from discrimination, gender-based violence, harmful practices, armed conflicts, disabilities, and distress amongst others.


The Protocol further offered African women guarantees of the right to dignity, integrity and security of person, equality in marriage and before the law, political participation, social welfare and economic empowerment, inheritance, sustainable development, and health and reproductive rights.


Over the past two decades, the protocol has served as a guiding framework to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, violence, and harmful practices against women and girls.


Nigeria’s Human Rights Chief used the occasion to reaffirm the commitment of the National Human Rights Commission to upholding the principles enshrined in the Maputo Protocol, saying “we recognize that gender equality and the empowerment of women are essential for achieving sustainable development, social justice, and the overall promotion and protection of human rights”.


He reiterated that while Nigeria has made significant progress in advancing women’s rights, there are still challenges that need to be addressed urgently.


According to the Learned Silk, the Commission recognizes the importance of collaborative and concerted efforts to address these challenges which include: gender-based violence, discrimination, harmful traditional practices, and the socio-economic disparities that continue to impede women’s progress.


“We call upon all stakeholders, including the government, development partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector, to join hands with us to intensify our commitment to eliminate these obstacle as we particularly urge the Legislature to domesticate the Protocol to ensure its effective implementation ” Ojukuwu said.


Chief Ojukwu further stated that emphasized that in line with the Maputo Protocol, the National Human Rights Commission will continue to play a pivotal role in promoting gender equality and ensuring the protection and enforcement of women’s rights.


“We will collaborate with government institutions, civil society organizations, and international partners to strengthen legal frameworks, enhance access to justice, provide support services for survivors of gender-based violence, and raise awareness about the rights of women and girls”Ojukwu said.


He said the Commission acknowledged the indispensable contributions of women’s rights activists, organizations, and individuals who have tirelessly advocated for gender equality and the elimination of discrimination.


“We extend our appreciation to all partners and stakeholders who have supported our efforts in promoting women’s rights in Nigeria. We call on them not to relent on their efforts in working with us to see to the realization of the full implementation of the Maputo Protocol” he added.


“As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Maputo Protocol, the NHRC renews its commitment to upholding the dignity and rights of women and girls. We will strive to create an inclusive society where women can fully participate, contribute, and thrive without fear of discrimination or violence”he concluded.




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