NEWS: Ethiopian CSOs call for Ethiopia to ratify the Maputo Protocol; ratification does not guarantee protection

June 26, 2012 - Ethiopian civil society organisations call for Ethiopia to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.
Ethiopia is one of the 46 out of 53 AU member states that signed the Protocol  in 2013 better known as the Maputo Protocol, which guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, to control of their reproductive health, and an end to female genital mutilation.
It was adopted by the African Union in 2013 in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. By 2013, 36th African countries have ratified it. Four countries have neither signed nor ratified the Maputo Protocol.
The half-day campaign forum organised on 26th of June by Network of Ethiopian Women (NEWA) and Women Can Do it, Ethiopian CSO, brought into light areas of reservations as to why countries have not signed and ratified the protocol as well as comparative analysis with Ethiopia's legal system. The campaign organisers hoped to promote and domesticate the Protocol in Ethiopia.
Some of the reservations or opposition to the Protocol is related to its article on reproductive health especially on legalisation of abortion, female genital mutilation, polygamous marriage and other traditional practices, registration of marriage, divorce, widow inheritance and nationality issues.  
In the case of Ethiopia, it was noted that that there is a suitable ground for the protection of rights of women including in the Constitution, Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), at federal and regional government structures, but also gaps including in implementation.
Ratification of the protocol does not imply nor guarantee protection. Instead translating the articles into countries including Ethiopia's context, laws and legal systems including its application by the law enforcement agencies are vital.
From the Pan-African perspective, having a continental law binds countries and people of African origin together, and that issues such as African unity, development, peace and security, equality of gender, human rights and democracy are interdependent.
Ethiopian civil society groups, although being close to the African Union, are yet to be present and lobby the AU organs on such pertinent issue affecting Ethiopian women. We are optimistic that the campaign organisers and other Ethiopia CSOs will be more present and active at the AU. 
To read more about the Protocol, click here.