PAP Committee members emphasize women’s rights and access to land
The Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Committee of the Pan-African Parliament organized a joint workshop with the committees on gender, agriculture, justice and bureau of women on the 1st of March 2016 during the Committee Sittings in Midrand, South Africa.
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.” These rights permit women to have access to opportunities as well as resources that are available in the country.
On the 1st of March the PAP committee members sat down to discuss how many countries had ratified the protocol. The protocol covers the issue on the protection of Women’s rights in the different spheres. The Maputo Protocol is an agreement 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. 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). Those who ratify the agreement are called “States Parties.”
It is the duty of PAP to ensure that the policies and objectives of the AU are implemented effectively. The members agreed that as a team they need to adopt laws to secure women’s access to land and ensure that they be given a chance to play productive roles with regards to economic development in the agriculture sector.
Having access to land will help improve women’s lives and also create food security and sustainable economic development for nations. Women should be seen as more than child bearers, the community should look at them beyond their marriage status. If women were to be given the same access to land as men then this would increase the output of the country and this would result in fewer undernourished people.
Women face harsh differences when it comes to the issue of land ownership and inheritance. These differences then result in poverty and food insecurity. In the African cultures women are usually entrusted with land on the basis of their male relations. In situations where the law protects women’s rights to land traditional customs then hinder these rights. The inability of women to have access to land violates some of the human rights.
Article 15 of the Maputo protocol which treasures African women rights similarly stresses on women’s rights to food and security as well as land access. Granting women access to land will not only improve their lives but it will also create food security and sustainable development in the different communities and nations.
It is now therefore the duty of the different institutions and states to play a role in enforcing the already existing women’s rights. PAP needs to equip its parliamentarians to play their legislative and oversight roles effectively in national parliaments for strengthening of women’s land rights through the implementation of land legislations.