Working Paper
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 [Internet]. 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 [Internet]. 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.

Peck S. I am a sample publication. I am important.; 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

First, include a LINK with hyperlink here. This will show up at the top of the extract.

Then, if possible, add a descriptive paragraph or two. This will be very helpful for site searching. THEN, CLICK PUBLICATION DETAILS!! This is CRITICAL!

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 [Internet]. 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.

Ngwena C. Developing Regional Abortion Jurisprudence: Comparative Lessons for African Charter Organs. Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights [Internet]. 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.

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”. 

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 [Internet]. 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.


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

Equality Now, in conjunction with Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), is delighted to announce the release of A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. The release of this manual comes 5 years after the Protocol came into force. “We hope African lawyers and women’s rights advocates find the manual useful and it gives them hands-on guidance on how best to apply the remarkable standards of the Protocol in cases of violations of women’s rights,” said Faiza Jama Mohamed, Nairobi Office Director of Equality Now, which convenes SOAWR, a coalition of 47 civil society organizations working to ensure that the Women’s Protocol is ratified and implemented across the continent.

Violence Against Women In Africa: A Situational Analysis. UNESCA and ACGS; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The current report of the African Centre for Gender and Social Development provides a situation analysis of violence against women in Sudan combining it with information about the available legislative frameworks and legal institutions that could be used in order to combat it (p. 158-163).

The report indicates that most of the Sudanese women who become the victims of sexual violence are reluctant to report the commission of an offence for fear of the negative  reflection it may have on their families, and their own reputation. In addition, a victim failing to prove rape may instead be accused of adultery and sentenced to death.

The report also highlights the problems of the widespread practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Sudan, abduction of Sudanese women for slavery, and their trafficking to neighbor countries. Both the Sudanese police and military as well as Janjawid militiamen have been found to be involved in the commission of these offences. Attempts to bring perpetrators to justice before the International Criminal Court have failed as the Sudanese Government has resisted arresting the alleged offenders.

At the same time, with the support of the UNPF, civil society and international organizations, Sudanese government bodies have devised a number of national plans and strategies to combat violence against women, prevent FGM, assist the victims of violence, and contribute to the empowerment of women in general. Not all of these documents have been adopted as State policy. In a move towards implementation of the existing plans the Government of Sudan has established the Unit for the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children.

Deacon Z, Sullivan C. An ecological examination of rural mozambican women's attainment of postwar wellbeing. Journal of Community Psychology [Internet]. 2010;38 (1) :115-130. Publisher's VersionAbstract;jsessioni...

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

Women's experiences of warfare and postwar recovery are qualitatively different from those of men. However, to date, the processes whereby women recover from the gendered impacts of war have not been sufficiently explored. In order to address this gap in the literature and to inform policies and services aimed at women recovering from warfare, a qualitative investigation was conducted of the process whereby women in one rural community in northern Mozambique attained wellbeing in the wake of war. Findings indicate that factors at all levels of the socio-ecological system were significant in supporting women's attainment of postwar wellbeing.

Davis K. The Emperor Is Still Naked: Why the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa Leaves Women Exposed to More Discrimination. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law [Internet]. 2009;42 :949-992. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa entered into force in 2005.  Met with much celebration for the protection it would provide African women, the Protocol was heralded as one of the most forward-looking human rights instruments.  Now, fifteen years after it was conceived, the Protocol deserves a full assessment of the issues that it has faced in accession and will face in implementation.  This Note analyzes the way in which the Protocol was developed and the effect the Protocol’s language will have on its ability to achieve its object and purpose.  This Note contends that certain language is too narrow, creating an over-specificity that will deter necessary countries from joining.  However, this Note also asserts that certain aspirational provisions of the Protocol are overly broad, creating legal obligations that States Parties will be unable to meet.  Ultimately, African countries with questionable women’s rights records will refuse to sign—States Parties will either be unable or unwilling to protect women to the extent required, leaving women in the same position as before. Worse yet, some States Parties may implement extreme measures that could increasingly disadvantage women over time.  By relying on Western ideas of women’s rights and without explicitly determining how or if customary law will be considered in implementation, the Protocol faces serious obstacles on the domestic level.  This Note concludes by asserting that unless States Parties consider a more grassroots, community-oriented approach to implementing the Protocol, the instrument’s requirements will remain unrealized, and women in Africa will remain marginalized.

Good Practices in Legislation on "Harmful Practices" against Women. Addis Ababa: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

**Click on "Final report of the Expert Group Meeting" at the given link to access PDF

The United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDAW/DESA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) convened an expert group meeting on good practices in legislation to address harmful practices, which was held at the United Nations at Addis Ababa, from 25 to 28 May 2009. 

The expert group meeting was a follow up to an expert group meeting organized by UNDAW/DESA and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, from 26 to 28 May 2008, on good practices in legislation on violence against women. That meeting prepared a model framework for legislation on violence against women, including detailed recommendations, commentaries and examples of promising practices. The framework contains two types of recommendations: those that are applicable to all forms of violence against women; and those that are specific to domestic violence or sexual violence. The purpose of this expert group meeting was to further develop the framework by elaborating specific recommendations for legislation on harmful practices against women.