AFRICAN EXPERTS TO DRAFT LEGISLATION AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), in collaboration with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), is developing guidelines to combat sexual violence and its consequences in Africa.

The guidelines look to provide guidance on legislation which must be enacted as well as mechanisms to be established by African Union (AU) member states in order to give effect to their obligations.

Speaking at a media briefing here Monday, Johannesburg ACHPR President Pansy Tlakula said once adopted, the guidelines would assist AU member States on measures they have to take to deal with sexual violence.

Tlakula stressed that the ACHPR was grateful that FIDH and LHR had been proactive in identifying issues which the guidelines seek to address. “It’s important for inter-governmental organisations to co-operate,” added Tlakula.

The Special Envoy of AU Commission for Women, Peace and Security, Benita Diop, said the issue was looking into the implementation of the guidelines. “So, far only 16 countries in Africa have a plan to protect women,” said Diop.

Furthermore, despite these countries having laws in place implementation remain a major issue.

“We are moving from just looking at the law but putting strategies for implementation,” she added.

The 39th FIDH congress is taking place in South Africa for the first time. This is the third time the organization decided to hold the congress in Africa, after Dakar in 1997 and Casablanca in 2001.

The FIDH decided to hold the conference in South Africa because it “plays a growing and key role at continental level, and at same time has to cope with major internal challenges”.

The theme for this year’s forum is, ‘Fighting back for Human Rights. Enabling a vision, implementing a strategy and ensuring the space for civil society as a cornerstone of human development’.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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