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JIFA Newsletter - Special Edition #IWD2019 - 8 March

13 Mar 2019 - 11:00

African Court Nominated for prestigious award over judgment on women's rights

Though there are problems in the justice system, there are also many reasons for celebrating the achievements of judges and courts in the struggle for the rights of women. One of these achievements has been nominated (link opens in PDF) for the Women’s Link Worldwide annual Golden Gavel award: the African Court on Human and People's Rights has been nominated for this honour because of its decision on Mali’s Family Code.

The case involves a challenge to the government of Mali which had passed a new Family Code, only to make radical changes in response to protests by conservative groups in Mali. The African Court ruled that Mali violated the Mapulo Protocol with its modified Family Code and said Mali should change the code to conform with the Protocol, so that, for example, consent to marriage had to protected by law. The court ordered Mali “to amend the impugned law, harmonise its laws with the international instruments, and take appropriate measures to bring an end to the violations established”.

The judgment of the African Court has been hailed as a landmark decision because it is the first time an African court has found a violation of women's rights under international law.

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