Africa Human Rights Day 2011
October 21st every year is celebrated as Africa Human Rights Day. It is a day to commemorate the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and recognises the right of Africans to determine their own destiny.
2011 marks 30 years since the African Charter was adopted. Article 2 of the African Charter reiterates the principle of non-discrimination, while Article 18 calls on State parties to protect women's rights and eliminate discrimination against women. However, the enjoyment of rights such as right to equal pay for equal work still eludes many women in Africa. A protocol was adopted in 2003 to expand the scope of womenls rights in Africa. The protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of women in Africa (Women's protocol), therefore became a key progressive instrument for the promotion and protection of women's rights in Africa. It covers a wide range of rights including freedom from non-discrimination, right to dignity and protection from violence, rights to political participation, economic and welfare rights, sexual and reproductive rights, widows rights and rights to inheritance.
Africa Human Rights day 2011 should remind State's of their International obligations to protect human rights. It should further encourage African governments to take women's rights more seriously and provide a safe and just society where all human beings can achieve their full potential.