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Refereed articles

The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

Jamil Ddamulira Mujuzi notes that, at the time of ratifying the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (“the Protocol”), South Africa made several reservations and interpretive declarations. The reservations related to the imposition of the death penalty on pregnant and nursing mothers, the registration of customary marriages (article 6(d)) and the nationality or citizenship of children born of alien parents. The interpretive declarations related to Article 1(f), which defines “discrimination against women”, and Article 31, dealing with the question whether the South African Constitution offers more favourable human rights protection than the Protocol.

Against the background of a general discussion of reservations and interpretive declarations in international law, the author considers the legal implications of South Africa’s reservations and interpretative declarations. The reservation to article 6(d), he suggests, is in conflict with South Africa’s international treaty obligations under the Protocol with regard to the marriage of girl children and the interpretive declaration to Article 1(f) is vague. However, the article highlights that the other reservations and interpretive declaration further the protection of women’s rights in South Africa. Several recommendations are made on how South Africa can better comply with its obligations under the Protocol.

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