Workshop on Female Genital Mutilation legislation and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa

Khartoum, Sudan, 15-17 December 2007

At the conclusion of the Workshop on FGM legislation and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa convened in Khartoum from 15-17 December 2007 by the Entishar Charity Society and No Peace Without Justice, with the support of the government of Italy, International IDEA, and in partnership with UNICEF working under the auspices of the National Center for Child Welfare and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Woman and Child Affairs.
 
We, the participants,
 
- Recognising the valuable contribution of Sudanese stakeholders to the workshop and in the effort to abandon all forms of FGM, as evidenced by the participation of over 100 senior representatives of non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, opinion-leaders, and representatives of political parties, representatives of both the legislative and the executive authorities from Sudan, International Organisations and activists from neighbouring countries;
 
- Emphasising that the Khartoum Workshop is a key step in the ongoing process to support the ratification and implementation of the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa and the recognition of all forms of FGM as a human rights violation;
 
- Welcoming the political commitment of Sudanese institutions to tackle all forms of FGM as a human right violation;
 
- Commending all those involved in the process of drafting the FGM legislation, the Institute for Training and Law Reform, the National Council for Child Welfare and civil society for their effort, and UNICEF for its continuing and comprehensive support for this effort;
 
-Thanking the organisers for taking the initiative to convene the Workshop on FGM legislation and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which provided an unprecedented public forum to discuss the Protocol and more generally women’s rights in Sudan;
 
-Believing that ratification of the Protocol will provide Sudanese civil society with additional tools in their campaign to eliminate FGM, and further a comprehensive and thorough approach to promote and ensure rights of the human rights of women and girls within Sudan.
 
We, the participants,
 
hereby declare that:
 

  1. The practice of all forms of FGM is a violation of human rights, and in particular of the rights of women and girls and an assault on their human dignity. All forms of FGM degrade women and girls and deprive them of their basic human rights;

 

  1. Efforts towards eliminating all forms of FGM should be intensified both at the grass-roots level as well as within the policy-making process, so as to emphasize the fact that FGM is both a violation of human rights and a gender issue; in particular, emphasis should be given to the process of informing and educating the public on the practice of FGM as well as on relevant legislative measures as part of their implementation. 

 

  1. Civil society, bearing in mind the legislative function of Parliament and Government, should stress the implications and benefits to be derived from the ratification and implementation of the African Union Protocol on Rights of Women in Africa, through lobbying, the provision of information, sensitisation and other similar activities;

 
 We, the participants, do hereby recommend that:
 
1.      It is now the time for Sudanese authorities to pass legislation banning all forms of FGM, taking in account the provisions set out in the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, based on the extensive efforts that have been extended to this end;
 
2.      The prohibition of all forms of FGM should be integrated into broader legislation addressing other issues, including:

    1. •   Gender equality;
    2. •   Protection from all forms of violence against women and children;
    3. •   Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights;
    4. •   Children’s rights.

 
3.      Civil society organisations, the public at large and public authorities enhance dialogue and cooperation among themselves with the aim of jointly elaborating relevant legislation toward the elimination of all forms of FGM and the full recognition of the rights of women as enshrined in the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
 
4.      Ratification of the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa be made a priority, and a broad-based dialogue among stakeholders take place to ensure increased awareness and understanding of the text and the implications of ratification for Sudan. 
 
5.      Programs aimed at the rehabilitation and counselling of victims of all forms of FGM should be implemented as provided for in the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. In formulating such programs participatory approaches, involving civil society, should be developed; in providing such services, state structures and civil society should work together in devising the relevant strategies.