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Maputo Protocol turns 20
on 11th July, 2023

20 years ago, the African Union (AU) adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), defining the rights of women and girls across Africa. Two years later, 15 countries ratified the Protocol, making it the fastest human rights instrument to come into force in the history of the OAU/AU.


Currently, 44 of the 55 Member States of the African Union have ratified the Protocol!

The Maputo Protocol is one of the world’s most comprehensive and progressive women’s human rights instruments. It is a treaty which was officially adopted by the African Union (AU) at its meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, on 11 July 2003. The Protocol entered into force on 25 November 2005, having been ratified by the required 15 member nations of the African Union. The aim of the treaty is to promote and protect the rights of women on the African continent by addressing the specific challenges faced by women in Africa, including gender-based violence, discrimination, and limited access to healthcare and education. It seeks to eliminate discrimination against women and promote their full and equal participation in all aspects of life, including social, economic, and political spheres.

The African Union (AU) Heads of State principally adopted the Protocol on July 11, 2003, to address the many legal, cultural, and societal impediments that characterized various African women’s limitations to achieving their full potential. It demonstrated African leaders’ willingness to protect, promote and fulfill women’s rights. It was affirmed in the Solemn Declaration of Heads of State and Government on Gender Equality in Africa, adopted in July 2004.

The progress of the Maputo Protocol results from incredible advocacy efforts by various human rights organizations, regional unions, and state bodies, including SOAWR and our members, in ensuring it is signed, ratified, implemented, and reported on by African governments.





The Republic of South Sudan deposited its instruments of ratification to the AU Commission on the 7th of June 2023.

Did you know?

  • Maputo protocol is one of the world's most progressive women's rights instrument.

  • 17 years since Nigeria ratified the protocol and she is yet to domesticate and implement it!

Resource Documents

Resource docs-MP

Download your resource documents to join in the celebration online using the hashtag - #MaputoAt20and tag us!

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