Nord Sud XXI is an NGO in special consultative status with the UN that was formed by senior statesman and women. The current President is Mr. Ahmed Ben Bella, the founding President of a free Algeria.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Rights of Women

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 7(b)(ii): the Rights of Women

African women are the foundation of the African continent. They give birth to its children, care for the future of Africa, and they are an invaluable human resource that contributes to the development of the continent.
Nord Sud XXI is encouraged by some of the gains African women have made. Rwanda is now the
only country in the world where women make up the majority of the members of parliament. We
are also encouraged by the important role women have played in this august Commission.
Unfortunately, there are still circumstances in which women are not treated with respect for all their human rights, and it is still true that women suffer disproportionately from the violation of their human rights.
Nord Sud XXI seeks to bring two such situation to the attention of the Commission. The first
situation relates to the right to health of women and we bring it to your attention with assistance of IBFAN Africa, an NGO with Observer Status before the Commission that is working for women's health in Africa. The second issue we raise concerns the Commission's and the Special Rapporteur's followup on a specific case relating to the human rights of women in a State Party.
Madame Chair, Article 16(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, requires that
States protect the health of all people under their jurisdiction, including, of course, women. The
human right to health provides a framework under which state polices, including any form of social or economic development or economic cooperation such as public-private partnerships. We are particularly concerned that such partnerships may sometimes distract from the ability of the State to provide adequate health services, especially to women. Private-public partnerships concerning the marketing practices surrounding breast-milk substitutes and complementary foods are among those that have sometimes caused concern to those of us trying to improve access to, and the quality of, health care services for women and their children. In light of these concerns, we urge the Special Rapporteur to consider the integrity of the decision-making process and the transparency of public-private partnerships in her work. We also call upon the Special Rapporteur to encourage States to enact and implement the World Health Organization's International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions that call upon States to ensure that best-practices related to women's health are followed in all public-private partnerships.
In relation to the specific issue of implementation of the Commission's decision relating to women, I will be very brief in merely pointing out that despite the fact that the Commission held corporal punishment to be in cruel, inhumane, or degrading punishment for women in Communication 236/00 concerning Sudan's use of this punishment for public order offences committed by women, namely, there associating with men and wearing trousers. We hope that the Commission, and especially the Special Rapporteur, will follow up the implementation of its decision by discussing with the government of Sudan how it will implement this decision that is now 6 years old.

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