Women's Human Rights
The Maputo Protocol and the Eradication of the Cultural Woes of African Women: A Critical Analysis
The Maputo Protocol is an African human rights instrument that seeks to protect African women and girls from the negative effects of cultural woes. Hence, this Protocol has been hailed as an African solution to African problems. However, though the Protocol is described as far-reaching because it treats areas that have not been covered by other human rights instruments such as women’s reproductive health issues, protection against HIV and AIDS,1 domestic abuse and marital rape,2 its scope is somehow limited. The objective of this article is therefore, to point out that the Protocol needs to be more inclusive by naming what we refer to as the “forgotten” cultural woes of African women and girls. These include: the African woman-to-woman marriage of convenience, payment of cultural bride price, breast ironing, and trafficking in women and girls. Other woes have been discussed only to ensure continuously denouncement to avoid “window dressing” implementation of the Protocol. Hence, the cultural woes discussed in this article can only be efficiently dealt with by naming them in the Protocol the same way female genital mutilation (FGM)3 and others have been named.
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