PAP Committee takes stock of Model Laws on Gender and Disability in Africa - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, April 11, 2021

PAP Committee takes stock of Model Laws on Gender and Disability in Africa

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Permanent Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability has convened virtually to conduct an assessment on the formulation of a Gender Parity Model Law. The Committee was also briefed on the status of the African Model Law on Disability adopted by the PAP Plenary in October 2019.

In March 2020, African Parliamentarians held a workshop on ‘Achieving Women’s Empowerment through a Gender Parity Model Law: A Parliamentary Solution for Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth by 2023’. The general objective of the consultations was to provide the foundation for drafting a Gender Parity Model Law. The meeting also sensitized Parliamentarians on the Maputo Protocol and the extent of implementation, while igniting sharing of experiences on legislation aimed at promoting gender equality and the rights of women.

In her opening remarks during the virtual meeting, Hon. Marie Mediatrice IZABILIZA, Deputy Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability praised African countries that have expedited the process on women’s empowerment to make parity a reality. She further noted that despite the notable progress, persistence of gender inequality limits the potential of the continent since millions of African women are excluded from the economic sector.

“Parity remains an issue for democracy and good governance. While progress is certainly visible in the area of the women’s empowerment, there is still a long way to go and the awareness by women of this course gives a glimmer of hope that with the support of their male partners, the balance will be struck. A Gender Parity Model Law would redress the inequalities which women still suffer in Africa,” said Hon. IZABILIZA.

The draft report on “Achieving women’s Development through a Gender Parity Model Law” will be presented to the next Plenary of the PAP for consideration and adoption. This will set the stage for the initiation of the Model Law by the PAP. The legislation will be formulated in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC).

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has also been tapped to provide technical support for the development of the Gender Parity Model. The ILO will provide expertise in International Labour standard, Gender equality and non-discrimination and Labour Law formulation.

The ongoing virtual meeting of the Committee on Gender further received updates on the African Model Law on Disability, adopted by African Parliamentarians at the Third Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament in October 2019. The purpose of this Law is to provide a legal and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, in line with the existing international and regional legal and policy instruments.

The Model Law is in the process of being submitted to AU Specialised Technical Committees (STCs) on Social Development, Labour and Employment as well as Justice and Legal Affairs before the adoption by the Executive Council. In the meantime, members of the PAP were urged to sensitize AU member states on the content of the Model Law for its consideration in policies at national level. Mr. Clement Mavungu, PAP’s Legal Officer also recommended that the PAP leads advocacy efforts for the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa.

Finally, the Committee on Gender examined the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security presented by Mr. Lefhoko Kesamang, Senior Welfare Officer at the Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS) of the AUC. The Protocol affirms that “every citizen has the right to social protection. The state has the obligation to ensure that social protection is available, accessible, adequate, affordable and transparent.”

The PAP Committee was called upon to ensure that state parties develop, maintain and expand an appropriate regulatory, institutional and operational framework for the provision of social protection and ensure good and democratic governance of social protection schemes and arrangements. This is even more crucial in the context of the COVID-19.

The virtual Sitting of the Permanent Committees of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is currently underway and will be held until 22 April 2021.

Source: Mr. Jeffrey Onganga. Media Officer, Pan African Parliament

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