Constitutional and legal rights

Date: March 9, 2012
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– Most SADC constitutions enshrine non-discrimination generally as well as non-discrimination based on sex.
– Nine SADC constitutions provide for the promotion of women and seven have other provisions that relate to gender equality.
– Many SADC countries are involved in constitutional review processes including Mozambique, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe and this provides an opportunity to mainstream key provisions of the SADC Gender Protocol
– Electoral law reform has increasingly come under focus with many countries calling for legislated quotas – South Africa and Namibia calling for 5050.
– Contradictions between customary law and statutory law abound even where these are outlawed by the Constitution.
– A test case taken up by the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWALA) established that both parents of a minor child can assist a child to obtain a passport.
– There are many difficult areas of law reform not specifically addressed by the SADC Gender Protocol: what the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) in Namibia calls “Topics at the far edge of the political agenda.” These include abortion, sex work, marital rape and issues sexual minorities. The fact that these are not provided for in the SADC Gender Protocol demonstrates the high level of contention over these issues.
– In Lesotho, Section 10 of the Land Act, 2010 has been adopted in direct response to Article 10 of the SADC Gender and Development Protocol, which provides that “the State shall ensure that widows shall have the right to continue to live in the matrimonial house after her husband’s death”.

Source: SADC Gender Protocol Barometer 2011

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