Alianza Intercontinental de Redes de Mujeres para el Derecho y el Desarrollo
  • Promoviendo el quehacer político jurídico feminista en América Latina, el Caribe, Asia y África
  • Promoviendo el quehacer político jurídico feminista en América Latina, el Caribe, Asia y África
  • Promoviendo el quehacer político jurídico feminista en América Latina, el Caribe, Asia y África

Lomé, 13 August 2014


                                                                                                                                                             M. Sidiki Kaba     Minister of Justice, Keeper of the seals                                                

                                                                                                                                                             Senegal Republic                                                           

                                                                                                                                                               Fax: 00 221 33 823 27 27


Subject:   Reform of Abortion Law   


Dear Sir,  


The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa provides that in the Article 14 on « Health and Reproductive Rights" : “States parties shall ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health is respected and promoted”. This includes “Protect the reproductive rights of women by authorizing medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and   physical health of the mother or the life of the mother and foetus”

The right to abortion, a means for any woman to decide of her motherhood, is therefore a vested right under the conditions laid down by the Maputo Protocol which Senegal is a party.

However, under Senegalese law on reproductive health, the voluntary termination of pregnancy   is prohibited. This prohibition can be lifted only if 3 different doctors declare that the woman's life is in danger and with the approval of the Attorney...

The denial of this right to women is a threat that could endanger her life or cause psychological harmful effects, especially if the woman has experienced sexual violence which in itself is already a traumatic experience. This is the case of this little girl of 11 years of Ziguinchor.

Had Senegalese State measured at fair value all risks of loss of life that she has incurred to the actual date of confinement and the future consequences including the trauma of rape?

As a committed human rights advocate, we hope dear Sir   that you would undertake  measures as soon as possible to effectively protect those women.   

WiLDAF urges, Senegalese Government to comply with its international commitments by harmonizing its legislation on women’s rights, including the right to abortion in accordance with   Maputo Protocol that it freely ratified.  As a country that has at heart the issue of women's rights, it is the duty of the Government to take appropriate measures for their implementation and enforcement.

Yours Sincerely  

rojo por las mujeres

Campaña "VISTETE DE ROJO POR LAS MUJERES" para prevenir y erradicar la violencia contra las mujeres con motivo de los 20 años de la adopción de la Convención de Belém do Pará. Próximo 2 de mayo, de 9:30 am a 11:30 am.  En el Salón de las Américas, OEA.  El objetivo de esta campaña de prevención de la violencia es promover la toma de conciencia sobre este fenómeno que constituye una violación de los derechos humanos de las mujeres e impulsar la puesta en práctica de las recomendaciones emitidas por el Mecanismo de Seguimiento de la Implementación de la Convención de Belém do Pará (MESECVI) en su Segundo Informe Hemisférico del 2010. Leer más.

WiLDAF played an important role to make Africa Union, former Organization of African Unity (OAU), admit the idea of additional protocol on women’s rights in Africa that would complete the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

 Therefore, WiLDAF actively participated in the development and influenced the content of this reference tool of women’s rights. It also fought with Heads of State for the adoption of the Maputo Protocol on 11 July, 2003, and to secure the 15 ratifications that allowed for its entry into force on 25 November, 2005. To date, WiLDAF continues to be involved for the ratification and implementation of this reference instrument in West Africa where the network concentrated its action, and 14 countries have ratified the instrument through the network advocacy activities.

While continuing its actions, WiLDAF has initiated since early 2013, through the financial support of GIZ, an advocacy project for the ratification of the protocol by Sierra Leone.


We are pleased to issue a paper on the ratification process in Sierra Leone developed by women’s rights organizations involved in the implementation of the project. WiLDAF would like to take this opportunity to call once again the authorities of this country to take action before the end of this year.


 click to read the report

activities report of Maputo Protocol ratification in Sierra Leone




Where are  we with the Ratification of the Maputo protocol in Sierra Leone


The process of the Maputo ratification was reawakened through support from Women in Law and Development for Africa (WiLDAF) (sponsored by GIZ Togo). WiLDAF sent a one man delegation in June 2012 for a one day consultation of actors to identify reasons for the delay in ratifying the protocol and to map out the way forward for Sierra Leone. WiLDAF also supported some of the activities identified during the one day consultation like;

Public Education on the protocol    Lobbying parliament Media engagement

With these three activities, public interest was drawn to the importance of the protocol. The female Caucus in parliament became very much instrumental and joined the campaign train. With their support the protocol was now laid in parliament by the majority Leader for discussion. The procedure for ratification was that the Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affair has to defend it before ratification. This did not happen because the Minister’s mandate to defend the document should emanate from the cabinet, but since the protocol did not pass   through cabinet the Hon Minister could not defend it in parliament.

Regional attention was also brought to the limelight hence as recent as the week of the 7th of April. A delegation using the Solidarity for African Women’s Right (SOAWR) platform in collaboration with Ipas, and Equality Now, visited Sierra Leone to complement efforts already made by SOAR in 2012 and national organizations to advance the country’s quest to ratify the protocol. Their objective was to support national organizations in advocating and lobbying with key Govt. Officials and members of Parliament to ratify the protocol without reservation.

Ipas supported the pre- leg process and worked closely with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, CSOs, the media and other women in engaging parliament to fast tract the ratification process. The media always serve as a pressure group for government to act on issues of this nature.

With all of these pressures, the Hon. Minister took the document to cabinet on the 3rd of July 2014. Two issues came up during the cabinet discussions of the document:


1.    Article 5 (FGM) Government stance on FGM is protecting children from FGM and so accepts to criminalize FGM on children below 18yrs. This has to be discussed further before ratification
2.    Article 14 - Health and reproductive Rights –especially 2 (c) right to abortion – the minister of health raised serious concern on how this might be mislead and cause danger for the health of women especially teens. Because of these two there were no conclusions arrived at and the Minister of SWGCA could not defend it in parliament.
Next steps.
Lobbying Ministers Prepare for discussion in parliament (pre ratification) Media engagement


WiLDAF Communication Service


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