By Justice Lucy Asuagbor, Commissioner, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa
THE MAPUTO PROTOCOL
The Maputo Protocol guaranteeing comprehensive rights to women was adopted by the AU on 11 July 2003, in Maputo, Mozambique. Following its adoption, AU Member States in the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa adopted in July 2004, undertook to sign and ratify the Maputo Protocol by the end of 2004, support the launching of the public campaign aimed at ensuring its entry into force by 2005, and to usher in an era of domestication and implementation of the Protocol, as well as, other national, regional and international instruments on gender equality by all States Parties. In the AU Gender Policy, Member States undertook to achieve full ratification and enforcement of the Maputo Protocol by 2015 and its domestication by 2020.
As of October 2015 however, out of the 54 Member States of the AU, only 37 countries have ratified the Maputo Protocol; Sierra Leone being the last country to have ratified on 30 October 2015. Prior to this ratification the last ratification was that of Cameroon on 13 September 2012. A 3 years gap. 17 countries have not yet ratified the Protocol and these are Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Niger, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia.