Volume: Volume 17 - 2013
Article type: Refereed article
Author/s: Fokala, Elvis
The inappropriate social status generally attributed to women in most African communities has directly affected their autonomy regarding their right to sexual and reproductive health. Also, this status and their subsequent lack of sexual autonomy has not only increased their risk of sexual health problems, but has also decreased their ability to obtain treatment and support when sexual and reproductive health concerns arise. The absence of explicit legislative protection of women's right to sexual and reproductive health may have aggravated the situation. However, in 2003, the African Union became the first human rights body to expressly provide women's sexual and reproductive health rights in the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, arguably as a direct response to this plight. With this legislative gap now filled, this article attempts to analyse the relevance of interpreting this crucial women's right from a multidisciplinary, rather than a purely legalistic, interpretative approach which has, over the years, characterised most protected women's rights.
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