AU: South Sudan Commits to Protect, Promote Women’s Rights

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union Commission (AUC) delegation has concluded a technical visit to South Sudan as part of the advocacy mission to assist AU member states to ratify and implement the Maputo Protocol on women’s rights.

The mission, AU says, was focused on assisting the nation in the ratification, domestication and implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa also popularly known as Maputo Protocol.

In Juba, the AUC team, led by head of Coordination and Outreach at WGYD Victoria Maloka, paid courtesy calls to Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, vice President of South Sudan as well as other senior government officials.

Vice President Mabior, in her brief to the AUC delegation, restated that the South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution provides for gender equality and recognizes women’s rights.

The AU Assembly adopted the Protocol on July 11, 2003, in Maputo in a bid to prevent the persistent gender inequality and discriminatory practices against women in Africa,

It places a responsibility on the African States to eliminate discrimination against women and promote their rights by introducing and effectively implementing measures.

So far, 43 AU member states have ratified the protocol, and South Sudan wants to follow suit.

“The Government of South Sudan is committed to ensuring that all regional and international instruments on gender equality and women’s rights are ratified” said Vice President Mabior, speaking to the AU delegation.

Aya Benjamin Warille, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare lauded the advocacy visit, stating the Maputo Protocol is timely and the AU mission “is extremely relevant to fast-track the process”.

“Ratifying it will present a lot of opportunities for South Sudan,” the minister added.

Similar sentiments were echoed by other officials and emphasized the relevance of the ratification of the protocol, according to the Union.

The Outcomes from these calls consolidated the political will and the commitment of the South Sudanese government in ensuring that they are a part of the member states that have ratified the protocol,” said the African Union.

The youngest country in Africa has made great strides in achieving its gender equality obligations, according to the Union.

Among others, it has reached 32% women’s representation in Parliament, surpassing the global quota of 30% and it has also established a Gender-Based Violence and Juvenile Special Court which is a best practice in the world.

“We take note of the progress made and working with the AU Liaison Office in Juba, we will continue to support South Sudan in its efforts for women and girls’ equality,” AU’s Maloka stated.

The visit is part of many efforts including the development of the Maputo Protocol Scorecard and Index (MPSI) and the “All for Maputo Protocol Programme” to support Member States to promote and protect the rights of women.

The protocol has not yet been ratified by 12 AU member states including Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

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