JUBA, JUNE 8, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudan government on Wednesday announced that it has completed the ratification process of the Maputo Protocol, a landmark agreement aimed at promoting women’s rights and improving their access to education, healthcare, and justice.
South Sudan’s minister of gender, child and social welfare Ms. Aya Benjamin confirmed the news in a phone call with Sudans Post on Thursday morning, hailing it as a major step forward for women’s empowerment in the world’s youngest country.
South Sudan in February became the 50th country to sign the protocol. Its ratification on Wednesday makes South Sudan the 43rd country to ratify the protocol.
But what is Maputo Protocol and how significant it is to women in South Sudan? Here is the answer.
The Maputo Protocol, also known as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, was adopted in 2003 by the African Union and has since been signed and ratified by numerous African countries.
The protocol commits signatories to a range of measures aimed at advancing gender equality and empowering women, including combating violence against women and girls, promoting reproductive rights, and ensuring access to education and healthcare.
For South Sudan, which has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world and where women are often denied their basic rights, the ratification of the protocol is a significant milestone.
According to Minister Aya, the ratification demonstrates the government’s commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women. She urged all stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the international community, to support the implementation of the protocol in the country.
While there is still much work to be done to ensure the full implementation of the protocol’s provisions, the ratification is a crucial first step towards a more just and equitable society for all South Sudanese women.
Edmund Yakani, a prominent South Sudan activist and executive director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) hailed the ratification of the protocol and described it as a success of his organization’s advocacy for its ratification.
“This is a remarkable success of CEPO advocacy and lobby on the government to be party to Maputo protocol for long period of time. Congratulations to the government of South Sudan for being now state party to Africa Union Maputo protocol,” Yakani said.
“CEPO’s program of Status of Women Initiative will partner with the government for official dissemination of the Maputo protocol including training of journalists and media outlets to understand what Maputo protocol is for their journalistic reporting purpose,” the civil society activist added.