The Africa Family Law Network was launched at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel on October 5th, 2022, following a three-day conference attended by over 60 advocates and activists from more than 23 African countries. The conference, which centered on the challenges faced by women and girls in the region, particularly regarding inheritance, child marriage, and female genital mutilation, fostered in-depth discussions on family law’s various dimensions within customary, civil, and religious systems. The consensus was that reforming family law is essential to achieve equality for women and girls.
This Network’s establishment aims to consolidate ongoing efforts to eliminate oppressive family laws throughout the continent. It seeks to create a regional alliance among national advocates and groups to accelerate family law reform.
The Network aligns with the Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law, urging African Union member states to ensure gender equality in family-related matters. It complements Musawah’s global Campaign for Justice in Muslim Family Laws, with the goal of achieving equality and justice in Muslim family laws and practices globally by 2030.
The conference, which was jointly organized by SIHA, Musawah, Equality Now, and the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), highlighted that women in countries like Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and the Gambia are prohibited from inheriting property from their deceased husbands or parents. As a remedy, the participants called for African countries to fully embrace the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, enact family laws that adhere to international human rights standards like CEDAW, and urged religious and traditional leaders to protect and promote women’s and girls’ rights.