15 November 2012—On 6 November 2012, the Kingdom of Swaziland deposited its instrument of ratification of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. Swaziland has become the 35th African Union (AU) member state to ratify the Protocol, and the 12th member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to do so. Within SADC only Botswana, Madagascar, and Mauritius are yet to ratify the Protocol. The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) Coalition congratulates the Kingdom of Swaziland on taking this important step towards ensuring gender equality and the promotion and protection of women’s rights.
Dinah Musindarwezo, Executive Director of African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) says, “I applaud Swaziland on this important step towards realizing women’s rights. However, what will make real change in Swaziland women’s lives will be the efforts the government and other stakeholders will make towards implementation of the Protocol. I look forward to, for example, seeing women in Swaziland having equal access and ownership of property including land without any cultural obstacles.”
Ambassador Dr. Eunice Brookman-Amissah, Ipas’s Vice President for Africa, adds, “This is an important milestone for the women of Swaziland and the Government of the Kingdom must be congratulated for ratifying the AU Women’s Protocol. It had been long in coming but we hope that the momentum of this heroic action will translate into rapid action to IMPLEMENT the provisions of the Protocol for the advancement of Swazi women.”
The coalition urges the Kingdom of Swaziland to domesticate the Protocol and to allocate all the necessary resources to ensure its full implementation. As the 10th anniversary of the Protocol’s adoption approaches, the SOAWR coalition continues to call upon the remaining 19 AU member states to ratify this important instrument and calls on all States Parties to adopt a multi-sectoral approach that involves all stakeholders in the implementation process.