SIHA Network supported five grassroots women activists and women leaders to participate and engage in the 75th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) from 3rd to 8th May 2023, the WCW Consortium, represented by the SIHA Network, issued a statement calling for accountability among Member States in the Horn of Africa to their commitments under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. The statement specifically addressed Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
In Ethiopia, the ongoing two-year conflict has witnessed a disturbing surge in targeted sexual violence against women. Perpetrators use these brutal acts as punitive measures or means of intimidation, often singling out women based on their regional or ethnic affiliations. Weak enforcement mechanisms and entrenched patriarchal norms have normalized such atrocities.
In Sudan, sexual violence against women is being systematically employed as part of a widespread campaign of oppression. Ongoing conflicts have led to looting of hospitals and humanitarian spaces, hampering healthcare delivery and exacerbating the already dire situation faced by women and girls who suffer from violence, abuse, and discrimination.
In Somalia, sexual violence against women and girls remains pervasive, perpetuated by armed individuals on various fronts. The prevalence of patriarchal norms exacerbates the problem, while Somalia’s failure to ratify the Maputo Protocol hinders efforts to protect women from sexual violence and discrimination.
While South Sudan recently ratified the Maputo Protocol, significant work remains. The legal framework lacks adequate protection for women’s rights within and at the dissolution of marriages, including a minimum marriage age, contravening Article 6 of the Maputo Protocol.
These governments, as signatories of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, must be held accountable for enabling an environment of ongoing instability and rampant sexual violence against women and girls. See the full statement here.