The regional conference of West African countries to be held from 13 – 14 December 2021 is an initiative of the Network of Women Leaders for Development (RFLD).
This regional conference seeks to provide a structured civic space to develop strategic collaborations, make effective advocacy and disseminate vital information with ambitious goals regarding respect for human rights in West Africa. This regional consultation, the fruit of the successful partnership between the Network of Women Leaders for Development (RFLD) and its partners, includes strategic and political discussions between experts from the African Union, the National Human Rights Institutions in Africa. West, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), academic institutions, media and other regional and national stakeholders, as well as development partners.
The development of Africa today faces serious challenges today. How to explain the many cases of violations and the usual instrumentalization of human rights in African States and how to put an end to these abuses? There are many cases which constitute the paradigm of this instrumentalisation and violation where human rights are transformed into hypothetical imperatives and into various weapons to be mobilized in political battles.
This tendency is to discriminate against women through occupational segregation which subsequently leads to wage discrimination. During the occurrence of natural disasters like climate change and other phenomena like the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, women are the first victims to be negatively affected, because they are caricatured as having a low level of resilience. The opportunity costs associated with lack of access to drinking water, for example, weigh disproportionately on young girls and women. It can then be deduced that human rights are not fully respected in African states due to the ineffectiveness of judicial sanctions.
Natural disasters, conflicts, the effects of climate change and other factors linked to the Covid-19 pandemic have left large numbers of civilians in need of humanitarian assistance. These people often find themselves in protracted situations where solutions have become illusory.
So to take concrete action for more impact results, women human rights defenders will put in place consistent actions to fight for respect for human rights. The most important weapon to restore to the African peoples and to combine in the past all the discrimination suffered by women therefore appears to be solidarity.
General objective: Consolidate the alliances of women human rights defenders for a better development of their socio-cultural and economic rights
Specific objective: Identify strategic collaborations and actions aimed at strengthening the contribution of Women Human Rights Defenders to durable solutions
At the end of this conference and in view of some relevant observations, participants expect that:
- Complete conduct of the Regional Conference
- Action plan on the role of Women Human Rights Defenders in the search for lasting solutions for human rights violations.
Also, from this action plan, the participants will make national pleas that:
- Governments put in place mechanisms that are credible, transparent, accountable and accessible to grassroots women.
- To do this, national human rights institutions must review existing laws and practices and recommend appropriate reforms. This will help remove existing obstacles and guarantee communities the security of their rights as individuals.
- Carry out independent audits of human rights violations and breaches of national policies for the protection of men in the event of natural disasters.
- To ensure their accountability with regard to respect for human rights, governments must adopt voluntary standards and ensure that their complaints mechanisms are open and accessible to communities without any discrimination.
- As guarantors of respect for human rights, the governments of the peoples of West Africa must also adopt international standards of good practice in line with international laws for the protection of human rights, and monitor that institutions comply with them.
STAKEHOLDERS / PARTICIPANTS
- ECOWAS Experts
- Special Rapporteurs of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
- Experts from the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC)
- African national human rights institutions
- Relevant state actors
- Development partners
- Civil society organizations
The Network of Women Leaders for Development (RFLD) invites national, regional, and international partners to write to us at the RFLD Secretariat on ADMIN@RFLGD.ORG to be a Partner on this regional meeting.