Substantive Rights Protected by International Human Rights Instruments (ICCPR, ACHR, ECHR, ACHPR*). Initiative on VAW, Carr Center, Harvard Kennedy School; Working Paper.Abstract

This working paper explores specific articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), and African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR). The following chart examines which articles in these international instruments protect different human rights. 

Africa: Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in African Courts. University of Toronto Faculty of Law . 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

These publications include summaries and analyses of cases pertaining to reproductive and sexual rights, including gender-based violence, HIV discrimination, property and family law, abortion, and claims of fetal interests. They examine how African national courts interpret and apply regional and international human rights laws. 

African Commission & Court on Human Rights -- General Procedures. Icelandic Human Rights Centre. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is a quasi-judicial body,established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission is based in Banjul, The Gambia.

Nyirinkindi L, Kirya MT. Towards an Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Norm in the Great Lakes Regional of Africa. Namati; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A Civil Society Review of the implementation of the 2011 Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region. This study was undertaken to assess the progress made by the eleven member states of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), in implementing the landmark 2011 Kampala Declaration to prevent, punish and respond to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the region. The 2011 Kampala declaration defined the actions to be undertaken to prevent the occurrence of SGBV, end impunity for sexual crimes and provide support with legal, financial, medical and psychosocial support. Three years later, Isis-WICCE has commissioned a research study on behalf of the Regional Civil Society Coordinating Committee on the SGBV Declaration, to examine the current status of implementation. The report looks at States efforts to domesticate and implement relevant protocols, provide concrete support for judicial and security sector reform, as well as ensuring strong supporting structures, special courts or specific legal procedures against SGBV.

More Than Bruises Are Left Behind. Matla A Bana. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract


To minimise the secondary abuse children suffer when they report abuse against them. This abuse is often worse than the primary abuse, due to a very unsympathetic reporting system. 


“Getting conversation going”

To prevent more child abuse from happening by securing more reporting. To mobilise communities to start speaking about child abuse.

To educate communities on what child abuse is, signs and symptoms and how to report it.

To  educate the public and children on reporting, highlight myths and facts of child abuse and to mobilise the community to start reporting.

Ngwena C, Durojaye E. Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights. Pretoria University Law Press; 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Strengthening the protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the African region through human rights uses rights-based frameworks to address some of the serious sexual and reproductive health challenges that the African region is currently facing. More importantly, the book provides insightful human rights approaches on how these challenges can be overcome. The book is the first of its kind. It is an important addition to the resources available to researchers, academics, policymakers, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, learners and other persons interested in the subject of sexual and reproductive health and rights as they apply to the African region. Human rights issues addressed by the book include: access to safe abortion and emergency obstetric care; HIV/AIDS; adolescent sexual health and rights; early marriage; and gender-based sexual violence.

Kombo B, Sow R, Mohamed FJ. Journey to Equality Publication: 10 years of the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.; 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In February 2006, when a 13 year-old Zambian school girl was raped by her teacher, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Protocol) was one of the tools that facilitated justice. R.M., the brave young girl who was under her aunt’s guardianship, sued the teacher, the school, Ministry of Education, and the Zambian Attorney General, citing Articles 4 and 12 of the Protocol (which Zambia ratified in May 2005) in addition to other international instruments in her submission to the High Court of Zambia. In June 2008, the High Court rendered a ruling in which Honorable Justice Phillip Musonda cited Article 4 of the Protocol, which elaborates “rights to life, integrity and security of the person”. In the judgment, the High Court referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal charges against the perpetrator, directed the Ministry of Education to take measures to protect students, and awarded significant compensation to R.M. This case, a prime example of women’s rights public interest litigation, attests to the potential of the Protocol to remedy violations and change lives. Nevertheless, the case is only one of a few well-known landmark cases using the Protocol at the national level. Currently, 36 of the 54 African Union (AU) Member States have ratified the Protocol and, as members of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) suggested in a 2004 publication, it is yet to fully become “a force for freedom”. 

Ngwena C. Developing Regional Abortion Jurisprudence: Comparative Lessons for African Charter Organs. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights . 2013;31 (1). Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article is constructed around an appraisal of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in A, B and C v. Ireland. It seeks to extrapolate comparative lessons for African Charter organs for the development of regional jurisprudence on abortion. It is argued that the A, B and C decision offers positive as well as negative lessons. The positive lessons lie in the holding of the European Court that at a procedural level, domestic abortion laws must be transparent in the sense of being formulated clearly and providing an administrative mechanism for review so as to enable women seeking abortion to exercise their rights effectively. The negative lessons lie in the continued reluctance of the European Court to resolutely affirm abortion rights as substantive rights.

Denney L, Ibrahim AF. Violence against women in Sierra Leone: How women seek redress. Overseas Development Institute; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper presents the findings of a short case study in Sierra Leone considering violence against women

An objective of the study is to contribute to an emerging body of research on the merits of using political economy analysis to reflect on the kinds of factors policymakers and practitioners should consider in developing interventions to address particular policy problems. 

Against this background, this study focuses principally on understanding the nature of the problem of VAW, and then works up through the different options women may (or may not) have for seeking redress along the justice chains in Sierra Leone.  

Let Me Not Die Before my Time: Domestic Violence in West Africa. International Rescue Committee; 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Domestic violence knows no boundaries, and many of the stories and findings included in this report could describe the experiences of women in virtually any country. Too often, women’s subordinate status allows violence to occur in silence and prevents women from seizing opportunities. For this report, the IRC has chosen to focus on West Africa in order to demonstrate how this global problem becomes acute in post-conflict countries, keeping women from leading their societies to peace and prosperity. The destruction of war creates a particularly dangerous situation for women that the humanitarian community can no longer ignore.

Yerima TF. Comparative Evaluation of the Challenges of African Regional Human Rights Courts. Journal of Politics and Law . 2011;4 (2) :120-127. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Recent developments in Africa have witnessed the establishment of African Court of Human Rights and African Court of Justice; and the eventual merger of the two Courts as the African Court of Justice and Human Rights. The Courts were established to compliment the protective mandate of African Commission on Human Rights. The establishment of African Human Rights Courts has catapulted scholars into considering whether the option is better for African human rights system or whether it was taken impetuously.  The question is imperative in view of the problems that besiege the African Commission. This article considers the foreseeable hurdles that the African Court of Human Rights and the merged Court are likely to face.  It points out that the African human rights system was built on a shaky foundation and suggests ways for revamping the system.

Manjoo R. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences: Mission to Zambia. United Nations General Assembly; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

2011 - Addendum - Mission to Zambia

This report contains the findings of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, following her visit to Zambia from 6 to 11 December 2010. It examines the situation of violence against women in the country taking into account its causes and consequences. It also discusses the State’s response to prevent such violence, protect and provide remedies to women who have been subjected to such violence, and to prosecute and punish the perpetrators.

Crime Report 2010/2011: Crimes Challenge Facing the SAPS. South African Police Service; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Annual Report: 2010/2011

The present report deals with the reported national serious crime figures and ratios for the 2010/2011 financial year (that is the period 1 April 2010 - 31 March 2011). These are compared to the figures recorded during the preceding financial years since 2003/2004. The provincial crime figures are also analysed in more detail and some comments made on aspects influencing the crime situation. More detailed crime figures and maps are provided on the SAPS website at

A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. Equality Now; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This Guide provides step-by-step guidance for using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa at local, national, and regional levels. It explains how to bring women’s rights abuses that violate the Protocol before domestic courts and regional justice mechanisms like the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; analyzes key cases related to women’s rights decided by the African Commission; and provides general strategies for activists.