IHRDA’s Statement on the International Day of the Woman, 2018; Theme: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”

Banjul, 8 March 2018

The commemoration of the International Day of the Woman this year focuses on activism for the transformation of the lives of women.

This year’s theme brings to the spotlight the fact that women, in both rural and urban environments, are increasingly active in every sphere of production and service delivery in society, advocating for their rights and for improved livelihoods and wellbeing.

Women all over the world have been increasingly organizing themselves into groups and movements, through which they have been taking initiatives for socio-economic and political empowerment, and making their voices heard at local, regional and international levels.

But, sadly, in Africa, a lot of governments continue to be skeptical about socio-economic and political activism, especially when initiated or led by civil society actors. Thus, in recent years, States have been taking measures to shrink the civic space, through unfriendly legislations, crackdown on activists and restriction of activities, thereby downplaying various forms of activism.

Mindful of the systematic demarche of some African States to forestall the efforts of activists working on various themes, including women’s rights, which only gives room for continuous violations of rights, especially those of vulnerable groups, such as women and girls, we want to reiterate the call for regulations and measures that allow for free and fair civic space for activists in African countries.

On this day:

  • We denounce repressive actions undertaken by African States against civil society activists;
  • We denounce all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls;
  • We call on African States to adopt and enforce laws, policies and other measures which ensure better treatment and empowerment of women and girls;
  • We pledge our continuous commitment to joining the local, regional and international community of women, men, organizations and institutions working to promote the rights, welfare and dignity of women and girls in Africa.

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