PAP to pass Model Law on Gender Equality - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, July 4, 2023

PAP to pass Model Law on Gender Equality

As CSOs call for progress report on implementation of gender equality laws in Africa

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Africa have called for a progress report from African Union (AU) member states on the implementation of existing laws designed to close the gap of gender inequality.

The CSOs who are in Lusaka for a three-day consultation with the Pan-African Parliament’s Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability also enquired about the status of the domestication of the Maputo Protocol. The consultation which began on Monday 3 July, will run until 5 July 2023.

Over 50 representatives of civil society organizations based in Southern Africa gathered in Lusaka for the exercise.

In her opening remarks, Hon. Miriam Dao Gabala, Chairperson of the Committee on Gender encouraged participants to be innovative and thought-provoking in their contributions, while ensuring that the meeting adopts a methodology that produces tangible outputs.

“We have a very big responsibility as a group tasked with thinking about the framework of this critical model law. When we write a law, it is not to defend oneself. To contribute to writing a law is to go beyond the individual to see the interest of African society, and guide the social behavior of several generations after us,” said Hon. Gabala.

She highlighted the following as the targets of the three-day consultation:

v  Identification of deficiencies in the Maputo Protocol identified and measures to address them in the proposed Model Law.

v  Compilation of proposals and recommendations from CSOs on the legal framework of the proposed Model Law.

v  Exploration of various issues and factors affecting the realization of gender equality in Africa, including the implementation of quota systems.

v  Sensitization of stakeholders about the significance of effective implementation of the Maputo Protocol and its incorporation into domestic legal frameworks in relation to safeguarding women’s rights.

Hon. Mirriam Chonya, a Member of the Zambian delegation to the Pan-African Parliament and Member of the Committee on Gender told the audience that the business-as-usual approach has not made us achieve much. She applauded the Pan-African Parliament for choosing to undertake this very important meeting in Zambia saying the country has a very vibrant CSO that is also committed towards gender advocacy.

It would be recalled that PAP at the First Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament in November 2022, undertook to make equality a reality in Africa. In doing so, the Parliament, through a Resolution, mandated its Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability to pursue a Model Law on Gender Equality in a bid to harmonize continental and regional efforts aimed at closing the gap of gender inequality and achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063 in this area.

The Resolution was taken in the context of the evaluation of the implementation of the African Women’s Decade priority areas, and the realization that despite the popularization of the Maputo Protocol on Women’s Rights provisions, women still face numerous challenges to reach equality.

In March 2023, the Committee held initial consultations with various partners in specific areas such as women access to land, education, employment and equal remuneration, social protection, political participation as well as participation in decision-making processes. The consultation sought to enlighten Pan-African Parliamentarians on the existence of international Conventions and studies that have recently been carried out in the framework of promoting gender equality.

The process has now turned to soliciting and gathering inputs from the grassroots populations underpinned by engagement with civil society organizations for public hearings to get their views on the legal framework of the draft Model Law.

That is why the Pan-African Parliament is currently engaging Civil Society Organizations for views on the policy framework of the proposed Model Law on Gender Equality and the draft Model Law itself. The process further seeks to identify the deficiencies in the Maputo Protocol and propose measures to address them in a model law. The presentation by Mr. Clement Mavungu, Legal Officer at the Pan-African Parliament on the Formulation of an African Model Law on Gender Equality and Equity: Theoretical Aspects and Roadmap; and the presentation by Ms. Estelle Nkounkou, Legal Officer at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on Gender Equality in Domestic Legislations and Policy Practice: Challenges and Prospects, provided key insights into the benefits of a Model Law on gender equality.

The presentations also highlighted some of the challenges encountered in getting countries to fulfill their reporting commitments regarding the Maputo Protocol. Pursuant to article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), state parties are required to provide a detailed report on the human rights situation in their respective countries to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

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