Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cameroon and Violence Against Women

Today for International Tuesday, we have an article from Cameroon by university student Njeke Joshua.

Cameroon and violence on women.

Women in Cameroon want their rights respected with some of the laws in the MAPUTO PROTOCOL respected as well. This year, on International Women's Day, some women marched around the town of Buea singing against violence (against) women. Cameroon signed the MAPUTO PROTOCOL on the 28th of May, 2009. This is an agreement among several African states determined to ensure that the rights of women are promoted, realized and protected in order to enable them fully enjoy all their human rights. All state signatories were to apply these agreements in their countries. Some of these laws are cited below:

  • A man and a woman are equal and do have the same rights. In order to be applied the state has to take women’s needs and interest into consideration in their planning and programming.
  • To eliminate discrimination against women, the State has to inform and educate the society so that all are aware of the discrimination which is present in our way of doing, our thinking, in our cultural practices, and traditions which make men superior to women; so that once educated, everyone will change his/her behavior in order to stop all practices which are discriminatory to women.
  • No woman has to marry before the age of 18 years, and she has to do it out of her free will. The woman has the right to choose with her husband; the place where they will stay; she can continue using her name after marriage, she can keep her nationality and give it to her children; she can dispose of her property as she pleases.
  • The woman, in like manner as the man, has responsibility over the family; she has to educate and protect the children.
  • In the aspects to pronounce separation, divorce, and annulment of marriage a woman can seek separation, divorce, or annulment of marriage. When separation, divorce or annulment of marriage is pronounced, the man and the woman have to share property and each person is supposed to have what normally belongs to him/her, and both have to take care of their children.
  • Widow’s rights should be respected. A widow should not be maltreated in the name of tradition. After the death of her husband, it is the widow who takes over the children. She can remarry if she likes and with whom she pleases.
  • The widow has to inherit her own part of the property left by her husband. Whether they signed “joint property” or “separate property” the woman has the right to continue living in the matrimonial home. And even if she remarries, she keeps this right if the house belongs to her.
  • The state has to protect poor women; women who are head of families, and women who are vulnerable. It has to provide them with level of life easily adapted to their physical, economic and financial needs. The state has to compensate victims whenever any of the rights and liberties cited by this protocol is violated.

Countries that have signed this MAPUTO PROTOCOL are not following these rights and liberties cited. Africans should take a step forward.

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