NPWJ celebrates a decade of the Maputo Protocol on the rights of women in Africa and looks forward new Head of UN Women to bring its spirit across the world

11 Jul, 2013 | Press Releases

Brussels – Rome – New York, 11 July 2013

On 11 July 2003, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the rights of Women in Africa, commonly referred to as The Maputo Protocol, was adopted by the Member States of the African Union (AU). It entered into force in November 2005 after 15 of the 53 AU Member States ratified it. Of the current 54 AU Member States (in 2011 South Sudan became the newest member of the union), 46 have signed the Maputo Protocol, 28 of which have ratified it, while only 8 countries have not yet signed it.
NPWJ campaigned for the Maputo Protocol both in the years leading up to its adoption, as well as over the past ten years, to promote the entry into force, ratification and implementation at the national level of this binding international treaty, with a focus on its crucial role as a fundamental framework for the development of a political, legal and social environment favourable to the abandonment of female genital mutilation on the continent.

Declaration by Alvilda Jablonko, FGM Program Coordinator of No Peace Without Justice:

“Today marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of a ground-breaking regional legal instrument that enumerates specific measures for the elimination of discrimination against women and addresses a wide range of rights, including the right to dignity, to life, integrity and security of the person, to education and training, to economic and social welfare, to health and reproductive rights, protection during armed conflict and to the elimination of harmful traditional practices.

“Crucially, and as a result of the efforts of key activists working towards the elimination of female genital mutilation (FGM) who were tireless during the political process leading up to its adoption, the Maputo Protocol includes Article 5, which explicitly condemns FGM as a violation of women’s rights and calls on AU Member States to adopt specific legislative measures backed by sanctions to prohibit FGM in order to eradicate it. This breakthrough document also paved the way for the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly, on 20 December 2012, of the Resolution calling for a worldwide ban on female genital mutilation (A/RES/67/146), Article 4 of which owes a great deal to the text of the Maputo Protocol.

“While community sensitization efforts have been on-going for decades, many AU Member States still lack effective legislation to protect women and girls from various forms of discrimination and harmful traditional practices. Where laws have been enacted, political will to implement them has not always quickly followed. No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) renew the appeal to all African States to ensure that the Maputo Protocol realises its full potential as a concrete tool for women’s empowerment in Africa”.

“We also take this opportunity to congratulate former South African Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, for her nomination as the Head of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and look forward to her determination and outstanding leadership in her new capacity, where she will have the opportunity to bring the Maputo Protocol’s exemplary spirit to the entire world”.

For more information, contact Alvilda Jablonko, Coordinator of the FGM Program, on or Nicola Giovannini, email:, phone: +32 2 548 39 15.