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The Maputo Protocol a Landmark Treaty in the Progress towards Gender Equality across Africa

Signed 20 years ago, in the Mozambique city that bears its name, it promises equality and non-discrimination to women and girls in civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Since it came into force, 49 of the 55 African Union member states have signed on, and 42 have ratified it. The protocol is one of the most ratified of any instrument in the continental union. With its goal to enhance and safeguard women’s rights throughout Africa, it is widely regarded as one of the most comprehensive, progressive and innovative documents of its type. What is particularly impressive is how the protocol recognises the importance of tackling HIV/Aids and acknowledges widow’s rights and women’s and girls’ rights to access safe abortion under certain circumstances. Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Eritrea, Madagascar, Niger, Somalia and Sudan are the eight countries that have signed but not ratified, and three countries (Botswana, Egypt and Morocco) have yet to sign.