Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
Background of the Project
On 18th January 2016, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) through the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa officially launched the Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Africa to bring attention to unsafe abortion which poses a serious threat to women’s and girl’s rights to sexual and reproductive health. Unsafe abortion accounts for 30% of all maternal deaths in sub-Saharan Africa where over 6 million unsafe abortion occur annually resulting to approximately 29,000 maternal deaths.
The campaign launch followed a March 2015 Commissioners’ retreat on Accountability for African Women’s Reproductive Rights in Nairobi where ACHPR Commissioners committed to among other things: launch campaign for the decriminalization of abortion in Africa that would leverage on the African Union’s theme for the 2016 – Year of Human Rights, in particular with focus on the Rights of Women; advocate for the universal ratification of the Maputo Protocol and lifting of any reservations thereto; and work towards broad dissemination of General Comment No.2 on article 14 of the Maputo Protocol.
The campaign augments on a series of land mark interventions that have been pursued by AU organs to address unsafe abortion in Africa such as the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) and other AU initiatives, as well as the Programme of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action. In the year 2014, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) issued General Comment 2 as interpretive guidance on family planning and abortion as provided for in the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. In the same year, the AU Department of Social Affairs issued guidance to member states through the publication “Interpreting and implementing existing abortion laws”.
These and other regional frameworks and initiatives undertaken by the African Union and its organs over the last 10 years have worked to raise the profile of women’s reproductive rights in Africa with a focus on the urgent need for member states to address the human rights and public health challenge of unsafe abortion.
To support this campaign and other complementary AU initiatives on safe abortion, regional civil society organizations decided to create a platform for strategic and coordinated advocacy interventions under the auspices of the “African Coalition for Safe Abortion (ACSA).”
About ACSA and Ipas.
The African Coalition for Safe Abortion (ACSA) was formed in December 2016 during a meeting for African regional CSO’s to sensitize them on the ACHPR campaign for decriminalization of Abortion in Africa.
The coalition is broad-based coalition of regional health and human rights civil society organizations (CSOs) that are committed to advocate for access to safe and legal abortion services in line with regional human rights standards specifically, on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. Specifically, ACSA provides a platform for national and regional CSOs to provide support to the recently launched African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Africa. Towards this end, between 2020- 2023 the Coalition intends to synergize and coordinate CSOs advocacy and capacity building initiatives that support the ACHPR decriminalization campaign.
Ipas Africa Alliance is a co-founder of ACSA and acts as the secretariat of the coalition since 2016.
Ipas is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works around the world to increase women's ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, especially the right to comprehensive contraceptives services and abortion care. Ipas seeks to eliminate unsafe abortion and the resulting deaths and injuries and to expand women's access to comprehensive contraception services, including reproductive health information. Ipas strives to foster a legal, policy and social environment supportive of women's right to make their own sexual and reproductive health decisions freely and safely.