By Andrew Nsoseka
Lawyers and Magistrates have been exhorted to implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, and the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights bordering on the rights of women in Africa, dubbed MAPUTO Protocol.
The call was made during a capacity building seminar that held in Buea recently and was attended by the Attorney General of the Southwest Court of Appeal, who represented the Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Keeper of Seals, the Director of the Women’s Counselling and Information Centre, WCIC, Yveline Ntanfa Bangji and the Human Rights Advocate, Christopher Tambe Tiku among others.
Addressing advocates at the seminar, the Attorney General called on them to improve on the protection of women’s rights in society.
“Cameroon has willingly ratified almost all core international Human Rights Treaties, which is an indication of the importance it attaches to the promotion and protection of Human’s Rights. Under Article 24 of CEDAW, state parties undertake to adopt all necessary measures to implement the convention. This is also the case under Article 26 of the Maputo Protocol. The State is thus under the obligation to achieve the full realisation of the rights of women…,” the Attorney General said.
Meanwhile, Yveline Ntanfa of WCIC, appreciated all the advocates for attending the seminar.
According to her, “our expectations are that in your professional life, you will always refer to the instruments you’ve been told about today, especially with cases related to violation of women’s rights and discriminations because we can’t achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, if one particular gender, the men for instance, are involved in the day-to-day running of the society…’’.
The Southwest Court of Appeal’s Vice President, Justice Helen Fon Achu, presented a paper on the application of the CEDAW and MAPUTO Protocols.
She emphasised on the necessity of both protocols, noting that judicial actors have not been implementing them, reason why the Ministry, in collaboration with the WCIC initiated such a seminar to remind actors of justice to use the laws in their profession.
“So many women out there are suffering and need a voice to fight and stand for them. They are either being discriminated upon or being violated in one way or another…,” Barrister Joanna-Koko Lyonga said.
On his part, the Southwest Regional Secretary of the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms, Christopher Tambe Tiku, remarked that the enforcement of human rights is not only done at the level of the courts, as the Government has gone further to create the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms.
“We have been receiving many complaints in relation to the violation of human rights and we have in one way or another assisted many of such cases”.
The MAPUTO Protocol was originally adopted by the assembly of the African Union in Maputo, Mozambique on July 11, 2003.
The official document is titled ‘Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa’.
CEDAW was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and is often described as an international bill of rights for women. It was instituted on September 3, 1981, and has been ratified by 189 states.