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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

Declaration by the Special Rapporteur on Women's Rights in Africa on the Occasion of the International Women's Day

On 8th March 2009, Africa, just like the International Community, is going to celebrate the International Women’s Day. This year, the theme chosen is “Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including providing care in the context of HIV/AIDS”.

The Special Rapporteure of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) responsible for Women’s Rights in Africa would like to seize this opportunity to pay tribute to the goodwill of African States to guarantee equality between men and women through the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women , the Protocol of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights relating to Women’s Rights in Africa as well as the adoption of the Solemn Declaration on Equality between Men and Women in Africa. 
The Special Rapporteure has observed that in spite of the existence of these important provisions, gender inequalities still persist in a number of areas, and among the consequences is the increased vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS.

The status and circumstances of women as well as gender reports indicate that unlike men, women have limited and unequal access to care, anti retroviral drugs and treatment. Moreover, they bear the greatest burden in terms of caring for and supporting people living with HIV, including orphans and the affected. They are subjected to a very harsh form of stigmatization and discrimination, manifested through violence of all kinds particularly, expulsion from the home, deprivation of their rights to inheritance etc...

At a time when the 53rd Session of the Commission is being held under the theme Status of Women , the Special Rapporteure would like to entreat the International Community and African States in particular to redouble their efforts and to reinforce their advocacy  role with the view to sustaining the achievements made in the fight against AIDS following the Statement of  Commitment on AIDS including the Abuja and Maputo Conferences.

The Special Rapporteure urges all States to honour their commitments aimed at guaranteeing to women the right to protect themselves and the right to to be protected from HIV/AIDS;

The Special Rapporteure encourages the States and the financial partners to involve women in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes related to the fight against AIDS and in all the decision-making processes that concern them. 

The Special Rapporteure wishes African women a pleasant anniversary and urges them to be united in their actions and efforts towards the emergence of women’s leadership in the
fight against HIV/AIDS.

Banjul, March, 08, 2009