A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

Project Details

Department
LAW
Project ID
L013
Price
5000XAF
International: $20
No of pages
55
Instruments/method
Qualitative method
Reference
YES
Analytical tool
Content Analysis
Format
 MS word & PDF
Chapters
1-5

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                    Abstract

This dissertation is based on a legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon beginning with an overview of the protocol. It proceeds to focus on the impact of the rectification of this protocol in Cameroon, by analyzing the positive and negative impact of Maputo on women’s right in Cameroon. This writes up equally embodies the criticisms raised for the ratification of the Maputo protocol by Cameroon.

Nature and methodology adopted in this research are both empirical and doctrinal. One of the key findings in the course of this research is that many women are unaware of the existence of the Maputo protocol and thus lack knowledge of its importance. This long essay ends with possible recommendations to the problems relating to the ratification of the Maputo protocol by Cameroon.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background to the study

The history of African women has developed into a vital and steadily expanding area of research and study, motivated as with other areas of women’s history, by the development of the international feminist movement. African women’s history also paralleled the expansion of African history following World War II, as scholars in and out of Africa began to focus on historical transformations on the African continent. Before the 1970s there was little available research on African women’s history per se, though information on women in Africa was found in anthropological and ethnographic studies.

This focus has continued in the preponderance of research on African women appearing in development studies. The first publications in the 1970s dealt with women and economic change and with women as political activists. By the mid-1980s there were a number of important extended studies, but only in the 1990s did a substantial number of monographs on specific topics begin to appear, although the bulk of new research is still found in journal and anthology articles.

Earlier historical eras were initially neglected, in part as a result of the difficulty in obtaining historical sources that dealt with women before the nineteenth century Written materials on earlier eras, especially from an African woman’s perspective, were scarce because many African communities were decentralized and non-literate.

Topics that have archival source materials included elite women such as Queen. Nzinga, a seventeenth-century ruler in what became known as Angola, and market women along the West African coast who interacted with European traders.  Eva, a seventeenth-century African woman who settled in the early Dutch community on the Cape in South Africa and married a European colonist, is also found in archival documentation. Egypt was exceptionally strong in sources concerning women in earlier centuries. Source availability influenced a large number of studies on slave women in the 19th century, which is an important issue but did not represent the experience of most women. Slaves within Africa

were more likely to be women, a reflection of their productive and reproductive contributions to their communities. Scholars have retrieved information on other aspects of the lives of women in the 19th century, as exemplified in research that detailed women’s work in Lesotho, elite women in Uganda, women’s vulnerability in Central Africa, Swahili women’s spirit Possession cults, Asante queen mothers’ political influence, religious Muslim women in West Africa, and numerous other specific areas of women’s activity. Women’s history in this domain, coupled with the marginalization of women’s rights, led to the international recognition of women’s rights4

Following the above recognition that women’s rights were often marginalized in the context of human rights, a meeting organized by WILDAF in March 1995, in Lome (Togo) called for the development of a specific protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights to address the rights of women.

The OAU Assembly mandated the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) to develop such a protocol in Addis Ababa[4]. A first draft produced by an expert group of members of the ACHPR, representatives of African NGOs and international observers, organized by the ACHPR in collaboration with the International Commission of Jurists, was submitted to the ACHPR at its 22nd Session in October 1997 and circulated for comments to other NGOs.

Revision in cooperation with involved NGO’s took place at different sessions from October to January and in April 1998, the 23rd session of the ACHPR Endorsed the appointment of a Special Reporter on Women’s Rights in Africa, mandating the reporter to work towards the adoption of the draft protocol on women’s rights. The OAU6 Secretariat received the completed draft in 1999, and in 2000 at Addis Ababa, it was merged with the Draft Convention on Traditional Practices in a joint session of the Inter Africa Committee and the ACHPR. After further work at expert meetings and conferences during 2001, the process stalled and the protocol was not presented at the inaugural summit of the AU in 2002.

In early 2003, Equality Now (EN) hosted a conference of women’s groups, to organize a campaign to lobby the African Union to adopt the protocol, and the protocol’s text was brought up to international standards. The lobbying was successful, the African Union resumed the process and the finished document was officially adopted by the section summit of the African Union, on July 11, 2003

1.2. Statement of the problem

It is a fact that all decent, educated people oppose Female Genital Mutilation and want to see its eradication. The problem lies in the attempts made by the protocol to legalize certain practices that goes contrary to both

traditional and Christian ethics. The Protocol demands total Abortion Legalization as seen in the American case of Roe v. Wade, where the courts invalidated a 19th century Texas statute prohibiting abortion except in cases where it is necessary to preserve the life of the mother. The Court based its finding on the right of privacy secured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment holding that it includes a fundamental right to decide whether or not to bring a pregnancy to term. The Court’s ruling was 7-2, with Rehnquist and White dissenting.

The protocol calls for the legalization of what would be in effect abortion-on-demand in Africa. As typically interpreted by international jurists and Western courts, the language of the Maputo Protocol would legalize any abortion for any woman at any point in pregnancy, even in the ninth month. All effective restrictions on abortion would be abolished by the Protocol. It also demands the governments to promote other policies that Catholics and others believe to be immoral.

This aspect of the protocol stands in violation of UDHR which states “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity; they are endowed with reason and conscience and should be treated in a spirit of brotherhood. It raises issues on property rights, which according to the African cultures, is reserved to men.

This is exemplified by the landmark case of Mary Rono v.Jane Rono and William Rono. The court of Appeal directly applied article 1 CEDAW, in a decision to justify awarding daughters of polygamous men, rights over the intestate property of their father who had died intestate and equal shares in his property. The land in question was situated in Uasin Gishu district, in the rift valley province of Kenya.

The elderly male son of the polygamous home claimed that he was the legitimate heir to the father’s property, and equally claimed that under the traditional laws and customs, he was entitled to sell with or without the consent of the father’s wives. The court found that this customary law was discriminative against the plaintiff s and against the spirit of CEDAW. This decision broke new grounds for women’s rights in Kenya in an area that had been extremely contentious.

1.3 Research Questions

What is the Maputo protocol about and what does it deal with?

What is the effect of the Maputo protocol and what criticisms follow its applicability in Cameroon?

1.4 Objectives of the study

General objectives

Generally, this research is aimed at ascertaining the effects of the Maputo Protocol on Women in Cameroon. This will be facilitated by viewing public opinion concerning the signing and rectification of the document by the Cameroon nation.

Also, the coming into force of the protocol led to the birth of certain practices such as homosexuals, and the sale of embryos amongst others, which creates doubts on the morality behind the protocol. This research, therefore, stands out to clarify such doubt by looking at the effectiveness of such practices.

Specific Objectives

In addition, the research holds as an objective, the shortcomings of the protocol to the African community as a whole, by closely looking at strikes against certain articles of the protocol. One objective of this research is to look keenly into the act of forcing abortion in every country in Africa.

The research further aims at bringing out the ill practices such as Female Genital Mutilation, and solutions to their practices. 

A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

A legal analysis of the Maputo Protocol and its impact on women’s right in Cameroon

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