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African Human Rights Law Journal

versión On-line ISSN 1996-2096
versión impresa ISSN 1609-073X


RUDMAN, Annika. Women's access to regional justice as a fundamental element of the rule of law: The effect of the absence of a women's rights committee on the enforcement of the African Women's Protocol. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2018, vol.18, n.1, pp.319-345. ISSN 1996-2096.

As stipulated by the CEDAW Committee, the right of access to justice for women is a fundamental element of the rule of law, which is essential to the realisation of women's human rights everywhere. As also pointed out by the CEDAW Committee, one important aspect of women's access to justice is the implementation of international instruments and decisions in international and regional justice systems related to women's rights. In line with this focus, the CEDAW Committee urges states to establish credible monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of international law. This article discusses one such mechanism or, rather, the absence of such a mechanism, namely, the lack of a specialised committee on the rights of women in Africa under the African Women's Protocol. The article provides an analysis of the effects of the absence of a committee on the rights of women in Africa on the monitoring and enforcement of women's rights relating to the border issue of access to justice. This analysis refers to three inter-linked lines of inquiry. The first is whether the structure and procedure established by the African Women's and African Court Protocols are obstructing women's human rights claims from reaching the Court. The second line of inquiry relates to whether the use of preconceived, mainstream mechanisms to monitor women's rights is conducive to promoting and protecting women's rights and, lastly, whether the limited jurisprudence on women's rights that have been produced by the African Commission supports or rejects the idea that the Commission is conscious of its women's rights mandate.

Palabras clave : African Women's Protocol; gender equality; rule of law; women's access to justice.

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