The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) is a regional network made up of 43 national, regional and international civil society organisations working towards the promotion and protection of Women’s Human Rights in Africa. Since its inauguration in 2004, SOAWR’s main area of focus has been to compel African states to urgently sign, ratify, domesticate and fully implement the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as the Maputo Protocol. FEMNET is a founding member of the SOAWR coalition.
SOAWR founding members contributed to ensuring that the draft of the Protocol contained strong provisions on women’s rights and the subsequent advocacy activities of the coalition contributed to the Protocol’s status as one of the fastest AU instruments to enter into force. Since then, SOAWR members have played a critical role in translating and disseminating the Protocol in local African languages, developing and disseminating the Guidelines for Reporting on the Protocol, supporting the drafting of the General Comments on Article 14, capacity building for lawyers and government officials, supporting impoverished and marginalized women and girls in their efforts to claim their rights, and, more broadly, monitoring the status of ratification and implementation of the Protocol and advocating for and supporting accelerated efforts to make its provisions a reality for African women.
As of July 2013, 36 countries have ratified the Protocol. The following countries are yet to ratify: Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Niger, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tunisia.
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