Sunday, May 28

Georgetown African Law Society hosts discussions on Africa’s women rights

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The event features Special Rapporteur Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie on the Rights of Women in Africa Washington D.C.  

The event, held on 19 April 2023, brought together law students and professionals to discuss the future of human rights in Africa, with a focus on the role of women in promoting and protecting human rights.

The highlight of the event was a moderated fireside chat with Honourable Commissioner Janet Ramatoulie Sallah-Njie, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. The chat centered around the progressive human rights agenda of the Africa region, the recent resolutions by the commission and the challenge of shrinking civic space on parts of the continent, especially on women’s rights issues.

“The African regional mechanism has very progressive instruments such as the Maputo protocol that is ratified by over 40 countries in Africa. However, the important work as we celebrate 20 years of its existence is to ensure those who have not ratified, do so and work towards its implementation at the national level for the benefit of all,” Commissioner Sallah-Njie stated. 

The conversation also delved into how a gendered focus on human rights can benefit advances in the broader fight for the protection and promotion of human rights and peace and security, particularly in the African region. Additionally, the chat highlighted the opportunities for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur considering the current global focus on decolonization. It also considered the pros and cons that digital space provides. 

“Let’s not only look at decolonisation from the lens of the laws we inherited from our colonial masters. What laws and practices are we now adopting and are they centered on the needs of the communities we serve? Are we changing the mindset of our children, the spaces we sit in to ensure that we respect human rights and promote feminism and positive gender masculinity?” Commissioner Sallah-Njie queried.

The one-hour event ended with a question and answer session and the launch of the Georgetown African Law Society.

The society aims to provide a platform for Georgetown lawyers and law students of African descent to come together, network, share knowledge, debate, and care.

“It’s an honour to have GALS launched in the presence of such a respectable, influential, and motivating woman leader on the continent. We have laid the foundation to build our network and to work with other associations on and off campus with support from the Georgetown Law Center. We will continue to create space for comradely, networking, knowledge sharing, debate and care,” Allan Maleche, president of the African Law Society stated.