• International Human Rights Law and Violence Against Women & Girls in Africa

    John Mukum Mbaku
    Michigan State International Law Review
    Law, Human rights, Women--Violence against
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    The UN has recognized that violence against women and girls is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which has led to significant levels of discrimination against women and girls in virtually all parts of the world and in all spheres of human endeavor. Since its founding in 1945, the UN has made a concerted effort to recognize and protect human rights, including those of women and girls. As part of that effort, the UN has established several mechanisms and instruments to help both the international community and Member States confront and deal with violence against women. In addition to international and regional human rights instruments (e.g., ICCPR, CEDAW, Maputo Protocol, and the Banjul Charter), the UN has also facilitated the establishment of the Special Rapporteur mechanism, which provides advice to the international community and Member States on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences. However, the responsibility for making certain that the rights guaranteed to women and girls by international human rights instruments and national constitutions are recognized and protected, lies with each State Party. Today, rape has emerged as one of the most pervasive and egregious forms of violence against women and girls around the world. Examining case law from several countries provides insight into how the African continent is dealing with rape. An important lesson from this comparative case law is that African countries need to revisit their legal definition of rape, especially as it relates to gang-rape and sexual intercourse with children. These definitions must be designed to reflect provisions of international and regional human rights instruments and provide optimal protections for children in particular and women in general.
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    4 months ago
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