At the heart of the Right By Her campaign are four rights areas: gender-based violence against women (GBV), harmful practices (in particular child marriage and FGM), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and HIV & AIDS.
Gender-based violence against women is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately. This includes intimate partner violence, sexual violence and violence in contexts of insecurity and war.
Harmful practices, as defined in the Maputo Protocol, are ‘all behaviours, attitudes and/or practices which negatively affect the fundamental rights of women and girls, such as their right to life, health, dignity, education and physical integrity’.
SRHR is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality and the reproductive system. The right to sexual and reproductive health requires ALL women and girls to be able to control their health and make family planning decisions.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the immune system and, if not treated, can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), a set of severe symptoms that can be fatal. HIV and AIDS affect women and girls disproportionally across the African continent.
In 2003, the Maputo Protocol was conceived to counter these issues and enshrine the rights of women and girls throughout Africa. In 2019, 51 out of 54 African countries had signed it. The hope is for universal ratification by 2020. Seventeen years after the Maputo Protocol was adopted, many African women and girls are still being deprived of their fundamental rights. National legal frameworks must be brought in line with the obligations of the Protocol!