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Tuesday 15 June 2010

Mali: Call for urgent adoption of the new Family Code without weakening of its provisions

The NGOs gathered during the NGO Forum preceding the 47th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples in Banjul in May 2010, express their concerns

VERSION FRANÇAISE

We, NGOs gathered during the NGO Forum of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) and actors of the campaign "Africa for the rights of women: ratify and respect," express our deep concerns regarding the non-enactment of the new Malian Family Code, following the decision of the President, on August 26, 2009 to send the law back to Parliament for a second reading. We strongly regret that nearly one year after this decision, the second reading has yet to take place and that insufficient action has been taken to facilitate its understanding of and acceptance by some groups of the Malian population.

The new Family Code, as adopted by the National Assembly on August 3, 2009, reflects many years of consultation and debate between a range of actors within Malian society. The adoption of this text, which provides some crucial guarantees for Malian women's universal rights, would constitute a fundamental first step towards bringing Malian laws into compliance with international and regional standards, in accordance with Mali's obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, ratified by Mali in 1985, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, ratified in 2005, and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified in 1990.

We are thus deeply concerned that the enactment of this legislation, which is fundamental for the protection of the rights of Malian women, is in suspense. Violations of Malian women's human rights are favored by this legislative gap. We stress the urgent need to adopt such a code in Mali and call upon the Republic of Mali to address this legislative gap, by ensuring that the second reading takes place without further delay and that the Family Code is enacted in its present form, without weakening of any of its provisions.

We hope that the Malian authorities will, thus, demonstrate their commitment to promote women's rights in Mali.

Monday 14 June 2010

ACHPR: Resolution on the Prevention of Women and Child Trafficking in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup Tournament

Link to the the resolution on the ACHPR website

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, meeting at its 47th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from 12 to 26 May 2010

Recalling that the right of women and children to be protected from trafficking has been explicitly recognized in Section 4 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Section 29 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Section 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and Section 35 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

Recalling that the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime was adopted in 2000 and entered into force in 2003 to promote cooperation, as well as prevent and combat transnational organized crime more effectively, and that the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, was adopted in 2000 and entered into force in 2003 to address all aspects of trafficking in women and children specifically;

Recognizing that human trafficking is a global challenge that necessitates a global response and that the right to be protected from trafficking is also protected by other international and regional Conventions and Covenants which protect the rights to life, integrity and security of the person, and offer protection against slavery and forced labour;

Concerned that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa may increase the trafficking in women and children for sexual purposes and other forms of human rights abuses in South Africa and the neighboring countries;

Recalling that South Africa ratified the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children in 2004;

Welcoming the introduction of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill before the South African Parliament to combat trafficking in persons by prosecuting those involved in trafficking, providing appropriate sentences and measures for the prevention of trafficking and assistance of its victims;

Noting that the South African law could be relied upon to prosecute trafficking in persons, including the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007, the Children’s Act of 2005, the Immigration Act of 2002, the Domestic Violence Act of 1998, the Prevention of Organized Crime Act of 1998, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997, the Intimidation Act of 1982, and common law prohibitions against rape, kidnapping, indecent assault, abduction, murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, common assault, and extortion:

Urges the Parliament of South Africa to expedite the enactment of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill and implement its provisions, in accordance with the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children;

Urges the Government of South Africa to increase awareness among all levels of government of their obligations under the provisions under domestic and international law;

Calls on the Government of South Africa to put into place mechanisms and prevention strategies to address commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and children;

Calls on the Government of South Africa to put into place and support initiatives aimed at assisting victims of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation;

Urges the Government of South Africa to intensify cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries and to ensure an integrated and efficient approach to prosecute traffickers.

Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 26 May 2010.