Parliament hailed for ratifying Maputo Protocol
By Morris Dogga
A member of the women parliamentary caucus, Janet Aya Alex has hailed the fellow lawmakers for ratifying the African charter on people and human rights on the rights of women.
Mrs. Alex said in an interview that it was important that the August house has ratified the Maputo Protocol, saying this was new step for women to have another protocol that will give them rights to rise against all forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Last week on Monday, the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) endorsed the African charter on people and human rights on the rights of women in Africa with reservations in some of the articles.
The Maputo Protocol grantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality with men, improve autonomy in their own health decisions and an end to female genital mutilation.
But the law makers passed the document with some reservations on article 6, sub-article (1) paragraph (c); article 14, sub-article (1) paragraphs (a), (b) and Article 14 sub-article (2) paragraphs (c).
There were reservations on article 14 sub-article (1) paragraphs (a), (b) which provides for the right of women to control their fertility, the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children and the spacing of children and the right of women to choose contraceptives.
Meanwhile, Article 14, sub-article (2) paragraphs (c) that further gives women right by authorizing medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where continuous pregnancy will endanger mental or physical health of the mother.
But the committee for Gender Child and social welfare at the TNLA recommended that abortion may be permitted only in fatal cases where the pregnancy gravely endanger the life of a mother or both and should be based on the recommendations of a specialist gynecologist.
However Mrs. Alex insisted that the women should have the right to decide on the number of children that they manage to take care of.
She added that most women have died in the process of giving birth because they don’t space their children.
“What happens if there is a life threat, should we reserve the life of the mother or the child,” she asked. “It is better to reserve the life of the mother than keeping the life of the child because the mother can still give birth to another life,” Mrs. Alex added.
The female MP stressed that a woman should have the right to decide when she is ready to have a child, arguing that the reservations put by the parliament are good but must be analytical.
She called for sex education to be taught at schools so that the children can understand their sexual productive system which she said if it is kept as a taboo, then most children will remain ignorant about sex and how to protect themselves.
“Having sex education is actually good; it gives a child an idea of why he or she has to avoid sex before marriage,” Alex added.