Health and Reproductive Rights in the Protocol to the African Charter: Conflicting Influences and Unsettled Questions
University of Florida Levin College of Law
16 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 79 (2009)
This article, prepared for a symposium, examines the drafting of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women and concludes that it was a fragmented process with consequences for the efficacy of the Protocol. Part I provides an overview of the drafting process including a brief critique of its shortcomings. Part II highlights the dominant influences underpinning the Protocol by way of textual examples. My analysis reveals a lack of cohesiveness in the final document that corresponds to a lack of vision for the instrument, suggesting how the patchwork approach to the Protocol may shape its future interpretation. Part III focuses on the health and reproductive rights in Article 14 in light of the Protocol’s theoretical tensions. I analyze three problems resulting from such tensions: the failure of the Protocol to highlight how various articles relate to reproductive health rights (such as HIV prevention and prohibition of early marriage), the narrow construction of a broader right to health, and the dual rejection and embrace of women’s roles as mothers. This last tension in particular — the intersection of the elimination of stereotypes found in formal and substantive equality rights and the promotion of a positive cultural context for women — illustrates the contradictions in the theoretical influences underpinning the Protocol.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 26, 2012
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