Thursday in Black: Towards a world without rape and violence. [Internet]. 2009. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Thursdays in Black Campaign has its roots in groups such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Black Sash in South Africa and the Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. Thursdays in Black, as a human rights campaign, was started by the World Council of Churches during the 1980's as a peaceful protest against rape and violence - the by-products of war and conflict. The campaign focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence.

Viljoen F. An Introduction to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. Washington & Lee Journal of Civil Rights & Social Justice [Internet]. 2009;16 (11) :11-46. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women's Protocol or Protocol) is a legally binding multilateral supplement to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter), adopted in July 2003 by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government. Also referred to as the "Maputo Protocol," alluding to the place of its adoption, the Protocol entered into force on November 25, 2005. By June 30, 2009, it had been ratified by 27 of the 53 members of the African Union (AU), all of whom are also States Parties to the African Charter.  

Ertürk DY. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences: Mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. United Nations Human Rights; 2008. Publisher's VersionAbstract

2008 - Addendum - Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo


Sexual violence has been a defining feature of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s recent armed conflicts. Women, in areas of armed conflict, still suffer sexual violence committed by the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), the Police nationale congolaise (PNC), armed groups and, increasingly, civilians. The situation is particularly dramatic in South Kivu, where non-State armed groups, including foreign militia, commit sexual atrocities that aim at the complete physical and psychological destruction of women with implications for the entire society. Given the multitude of actors involved in the conflict and the continuation of these crimes, the international community, in cooperation with the Congolese authorities, has a responsibility to take all necessary measures to ensure that women in South Kivu are protected. Sexual violence extends beyond eastern Congo. In Equateur Province, PNC and FARDC have carried out systematic reprisals against the civilian population, including mass rape. Soldiers and police who commit these acts amounting to crimes against humanity are rarely held accountable by the commanding officers. Some of the perpetrators have been given commanding positions in the State security forces, which further aggravates the situation. Impunity for rape is massive. Due to political interference and corruption, perpetrators, especially those who belong to the State security forces, go unpunished. The limited support made available to the overburdened justice system raises questions as to whether there is political will to end impunity. 

Trochu-Grasso C, Varesano O. Situation of Violence against Women and Children in Kenya: Implementation of the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Geneva: Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture; 2008. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The purpose of this alternative report is to address specific violence against women and children, including torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, its causes and consequences.

The report draws attention to consistent violations involving torture and ill-treatment inflicted on women and children by both State officials and non-State actors. It also addresses to what extent the Kenyan Government fails to protect women and children from torture. In this respect, the present report provides the UN Committee against Torture (the Committee) with a legal and practical overview of women’s and children’s rights in Kenya in the context of the implementation of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention).

This report is based on the international legal obligations of Kenya under the Convention. In particular, it refers to the positive obligation to “take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction” and “to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” 

Imam A. Women, Muslim Laws and Human Rights in Nigeria: A Keynote Address. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars - Africa Program [Internet]. 2004. Publisher's VersionAbstract

What is the meaning of Shari’a law? How can we understand its implementation in different contexts, given the diversity in the practice of Islam in Africa and around the globe? What are the elements of Shari’a that are particularly relevant to the position of women and gender relations in the African nation(s) under consideration?

Kounte K. Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Simplified). Peace Women; 2003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) on the Rights of Women in Africa was adopted in Maputo in July 2003, eight years after the commencement of the drafting process in Lomé, Togo in March 1995. This event marked a major achievement. However, before entering into force, the Protocol required ratification in fifteen member countries (Article 29). On 26 October 2005, Togo became the fifteenth country to ratify and deposit the Protocol before the Commission of the African Union. The Protocol entered into force a month later on 25 November 2005.

While celebrating this major achievement, the African women's movement remains vigilant in the pursuit of our next objective: the universal ratification of the instrument and its effective implementation. Only then will the status of African women significantly improve.

In pursuit of this objective, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom WiLDAF) sub-regional office for West Africa produced this simplified version of the Protocol, which can be used to educate and raise awareness of women's rights. 

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol Text). African Union; 2003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Maputo Protocol was originally adopted by the “Assembly of the African Union” in Maputo, Mozambique on July 11, 2003. The official document is titled “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.”

The Maputo Protocol is a treaty instrument that is binding on all countries that ratify it. It went into effect in November 2005, after the minimum 15 of the 53 African Union member countries ratified it. As of June 2007, according to the African Union, 43 nations had signed it and 21 had formally ratified it: (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, Gambia, Libya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia). 

"We'll kill you if you cry" - Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict. Washington, DC: Human Rights Watch; 2003. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Throughout the armed conflict in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2001, thousands of women and girls of all ages, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes were subjected to widespread and systematic sexual violence, including individual and gang rape, and rape with objects such as weapons, firewood, umbrellas, and pestles. Rape was perpetrated by both sides, but mostly by the rebel forces. These crimes of sexual violence were generally characterized by extraordinary brutality and frequently preceded or followed by other egregious human rights abuses against the victim, her family, and her community. Although the rebels raped indiscriminately irrespective of age, they targeted young women and girls whom they thought were virgins. Many of these younger victims did not survive these crimes of sexual violence. Adult women were also raped so violently that they sometimes bled to death or suffered from tearing in the genital area, causing long-term incontinence and severe infections. Many victims who were pregnant at the time of rape miscarried as a result of the sexual violence they were subjected to, and numerous women had their babies torn out of their uterus as rebels placed bets on the sex of the unborn child.

War-Related Sexual Violence in Sierra Leone. Boston: Physicians for Human Rights; 2002. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Sierra Leone’s decade-long conflict of the 1990s and onward was marked by an extraordinary level of brutal human rights abuses, including summary killings, sexual violence against women and girls, abductions, amputations, and the use of child soldiers.

The combined effects of prolonged conflict, pervasive human rights abuses, and massive forced migration in one of the poorest countries in the world, devastated the health and well-being of the Sierra Leonean people. The daunting process of rebuilding and reconciliation in the aftermath of such destruction requires the establishment of an accurate account of the nature and extent of abuses that were committed.

Quantitative Research Findings on Rape in South Africa. Statistics South Africa; 2000. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study provides an overview of available literature on the prevalence and incidence of rape in South Africa, the response of the criminal justice system to such crimes and the characteristics of those who commit rape. There are indeed various studies of rape in South Africa from which rape statistics may be extracted, but none of these studies were specifically designed to measure the prevalence and/or incidence of this crime. These studies, although approached from different perspectives and using diverse methods, come up with roughly similar patterns or trends as summarised below. Prevalence refers to how many cases there are, altogether, at a given point in time, for example, how many people there are in any country on the day of a population census. Incidence, on the other hand,refers to the number of cases over a specified time period, for example, the number of children per 100 000 of the population thatwere born in a given year.