Mpiwa Mangneiro, Regional Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for Sonke Gender Justice says Issues of equality and fighting against FGM are also important for men and boys. Mel Frykberg/ANA

The role of parliamentarians in promoting international and regional human rights relating to women and youth, peace and security and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is being discussed at the Pan Africa Parliament’s (PAP) fifth session.

The deliberations at the 10th Annual Conference on Women’s Rights at the Gallagher Conference Centre in Midrand on Thursday aim to strengthen the knowledge of members of the PAP Women’s Caucus on international and regional human rights instruments to support domestication at the national level.

At the regional level in Africa, instruments such as the African Charter on Human and People Rights (1981), its Protocol related Right of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol 2003), and the Maputo Plan of Action 2016 all contribute to African government’s engagement in promoting human rights and gender equality, according to the PAP and the United Nations Population Fund.

The African Union (AU), AU Organs especially the PAP, member states and regional economic communities have been in the frontline of championing women’s rights through the ratification of the Maputo Protocol by 38 AU member states, conference organisers concurred.

These efforts have been complemented by the adoption of regional protocols on women such as the women protocol adopted by the Southern African Development Community protocol.

However, the implementation of these commitments remained a challenge due to poor domestication, lack of resources or issues related to peace and security further impacting the negative effect on women and girls.

But how do African women themselves feel about the situation on the ground and all the legalistic jargon.

“Women’s equality is fundamental to the development of Africa as well as the well being of women and girls,” said Zimbabwean Mpiwa Mangneiro, Regional Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for Sonke Gender Justice, a Johannesburg-based NGO.

“But these issues of equality and FGM are also important for men and boys. Without a resolution to these issues they will also pay the price of an Africa not developed to its full potential because studies have shown that gender discrimination impacts the successful development of a country,” Mangneiro told the African News Agency (ANA).

Cameroonian Dominique Mpouel, a Resource Mobilisation Officer at the PAP concurred saying it was pointless talking about progress while women faced discrimination.

“Equality should be addressed as a priority. However, on a deeper level women will always have to work twice as hard as men to achieve the same recognition,” said Mpouel.

- African News Agency (ANA)