The Maputo Protocol was originally adopted by the “Assembly of the African Union” in Maputo, Mozambique on July 11, 2003. The official document is titled “Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa.”
The Maputo Protocol is a treaty instrument that is binding on all countries that ratify it. It went into effect in November 2005, after the minimum 15 of the 53 African Union member countries ratified it. As of June 2007, according to the African Union, 43 nations had signed it and 21 had formally ratified it: (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Comoros, Djibouti, Gambia, Libya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Seychelles, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia). Those who ratify the treaty are called “States Parties.”
Proponents of the Maputo Protocol present it as a method of combating female genital mutilation in Africa, where it is more common than elsewhere. It is estimated that this harmful practice is performed on approximately two million women a year worldwide. Pro-Protocol forces often try to portray opponents of the Protocol as callous towards women’s rights, even though the Maputo Protocol is not principally aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation.
Of course, all decent, educated people oppose FGM and want to see its eradication. This laudable goal of the Maputo Protocol is being used to distract attention from the other, more central goals of the treaty. Notice that the Protocol offers no new ideas on how to combat FGM, or any reason why national governments should not do it themselves without the African Union.
Death for the Unborn: The Maputo Protocol Demands Total Abortion Legalization. Article 14, “Health and Reproductive Rights,” calls for the legalization of what would be in effect abortion-on-demand in Africa. As typically interpreted by international jurists and Western courts, the language of the Maputo Protocol would legalize any abortion for any woman at any point in pregnancy, even in the ninth month. All effective restrictions on abortion would be abolished by the Protocol. It also demands the governments promote other policies that Catholics and others believe to be immoral. Here is Article 14 in its entirety:
States Parties shall ensure that the right to health of women, including sexual and reproductive health is respected and promoted. This includes:
a) the right to control their fertility;
b) the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children and the spacing of children;
c) the right to choose any method of contraception;
d) the right to self-protection and to be protected against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS;
e) the right to be informed on one’s health status and on the health status of one’s partner, particularly if affected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS, in accordance with internationally recognised standards and best practices;
f) the right to have family planning education.
States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to:
a) provide adequate, affordable and accessible health services, including information, education and communication programmes to women especially those in rural areas;
b) establish and strengthen existing pre-natal, delivery and post-natal health and nutritional services for women during pregnancy and while they are breast-feeding;
c) protect the reproductive rights of women by authorising medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus.
The Maputo Protocol, formulated with help from the International Planned Parenthood Federation, explicitly calls for all methods of contraception, including abortifacient ones such as the Pill, to be provided by governments. It not only calls for allowing the killing of unborn children conceived through rape and incest, but for the mental health of the mother. In the United States and elsewhere, this loophole has been used to justify any abortion at any time because an abortionist can claim that a woman would have been depressed or anxious if he had refused her an abortion. Make no mistake: The Maputo Protocol means abortion on demand for an entire continent. This is the first time an entire continent will have enshrined a right to abortion
Culture War: The Maputo Protocol is About the Eradication of Traditional African Family Cultures. In contrast to its passing mention of FGM, the Maputo Protocol is full of radical feminist language about the complete transformation of African cultures into a Western, Marxist-style genderless utopia. After World War II, the Frankfurt School of Marxists transferred concepts about class warfare from the economic realm to the cultural and familial realms. Instead of focusing just on rich vs. poor, the Frankfurt School Marxists succeeded in sparking societal struggles based on concepts of men vs. women, Western vs. non-Western, white vs. black, etc. The Maputo Protocol is an African blueprint for continent-wide feminist social transformation that, like all leftist transformations, will destroy families, lessen community, uproot tradition, and enhance the power of ruling governmental elites.
Instead of talking about the harm of FGM and how to combat it, the Maputo Protocol is full of statements such as the following. These statements call for the total eradication of all forms of “discrimination” against women:
“Further considering that Article 18 of the African Charter on
Human and Peoples’ Rights calls on all States Parties to eliminate
every form of discrimination against women and to ensure the protection
of the rights of women as stipulated in international declarations and
“support the local, national, regional and continental
initiatives directed at eradicating all forms of discrimination
“Reaffirming the principle of promoting gender equality as
enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the African Union….”
“States Parties shall combat all forms of discrimination against
women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other
measures. In this regard they shall: a) include in their national
constitutions and other legislative instruments, if not already
done, the principle of equality between women and men and
ensure its effective application”
And what does discrimination mean? The Maputo Protocol, which never defines FGM or distinguishes it from true medical procedures, defines discrimination this way:
“‘Discrimination against women’ means any distinction,
exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based
on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or
destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by
women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights
and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”
This broad definition would seem to outlaw almost any distinction based on sex. Even all-male military units seem to be forbidden, and the Maputo Protocol could be interpreted as requiring the military draft for women if one exists for men. This “sex warfare” theory must be integrated into all spheres of life, according to the Maputo Protocol. All signatory nations must:
“integrate a gender perspective in their policy decisions,
legislation, development plans, programmes and activities
and in all other spheres of life”
In addition, the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), among other international agencies, has declared denial of access to abortion to be discrimination against women. CEDAW has even ordered several countries to legalize abortion. This interpretation of the Maputo Protocol is likely to become dominant among international jurists.
The Maputo Protocol states very clearly that it mandates a totalitarian program to brainwash Africans into radical feminist ways of thinking:
“States Parties shall commit themselves to modify the social and
cultural patterns of conduct of women and men through public
education, information, education and communication strategies, with
a view to achieving the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional
practices and all other practices which are based on the idea of the
inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, or on stereotyped
roles for women and men.”
“eliminate all stereotypes in textbooks, syllabuses and the
media, that perpetuate such discrimination”
A good question is what are the “stereotypes” to be eliminated? Feminists in the West argue that the traditional roles of husbands and wives in the family should be included as “stereotypes”. In Western nations, traditional families where the mother stays at home to be the primary care-giver for the children face discrimination in society, taxes, and government programs even though there are tens of millions of them. Girls are indoctrinated in schools and the media to believe that a professional career is their only valuable choice. The result has been dramatic increases in family breakdown, illegitimacy, fatherless families, involuntarily single and childless women, and suicidal birthrates far below replacement level. Africans also face crises with family formation and steadily increasing numbers of orphans. Do African women need to hear that they should not take on the stereotyped role of child care-giver? Do African men need to hear that they shouldn’t serve as breadwinners for their families? The Maputo Protocol would even attack freedom of the press in this area if implemented.
The Maputo Protocol insists that “the minimum age of marriage for women shall be 18 years.” In Africa, as elsewhere, many young women become pregnant before age 18, and this situation is unlikely to change any time soon. This provision would forbid them to marry the fathers of their children, which could deprive them of the protection, income, and social status that such marriages could bring. Though true child marriage is unacceptable, it could be that a minimum marriage age younger than 18 would be more reasonable.
The Maputo Protocol states:
“States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure the protection of every woman’s right to respect for her dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence.”
“‘Violence against women’ means all acts perpetrated against women which cause or could cause them physical, sexual, psychological, and economic harm, including the threat to take such acts; or to undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life in peace time and during situations of armed conflicts or of war”
The use of the term “verbal violence” indicates a desire to impose the kind of censorship already beginning in Canada and Western Europe, where journalists and pastors have been prosecuted for saying homosexual acts are sinful or harmful. These passages raise the prospect of men being dragged to court for “verbal abuse” of their wives or other speech. Might it one day include statements such as, “Mothers should primarily care for their children instead of working in factories,” or “Abortion is evil”? Couldn’t trying to outlaw abortion be construed as an attempt to “undertake the imposition of arbitrary restrictions on or deprivation of fundamental freedoms in private or public life” by courts of the same ideological slant as the drafters of the Maputo Protocol?
Feminists claim that quotas that help women to get jobs and discriminate against men are good. This is not true. Every wife and daughter of a man who is denied a job, promotion, or benefit suffers as well. Since many women and children depend on the father of the family for their primary income, they suffer all the more from sex preferences. Homemaking mothers and their children suffer most from this. Therefore, sex preferences discriminate against intact traditional families in favor of single persons and non-traditional families.
Not only is the Maputo Protocol full of phrases about “affirmative action” for women and “the promotion of women” that mean discriminating against father-headed families, but it calls for equal representation for women in certain career areas even though far more women than men prefer to stay at home. The Maputo Protocol demands “that women are represented equally in the judiciary and law enforcement organs.”
The Maputo Protocol is Enforceable. Many might believe that the Maputo Protocol is a bit of propaganda with no real practical effect. On the contrary, the Maputo Protocol is binding and enforceable. Currently, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has the authority to interpret the Protocol until the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is established. The African Union is moving toward greater integration and its power will only increase, just as the European Union, though unable to operate effectively on security matters, dictates social policy to its member states. The African Union’s website says that its goal “is full political and economic integration leading to the United States of Africa.” African heads of state have been participating in the process to realize this dream.
The Maputo Protocol is being marketed as a method to combat female genital mutilation (FGM), but out of 23 pages, it mentions FGM in only one sentence.
Large sections of the Protocol are devoted to the central desires of its drafters: Wholesale radical feminist transformation of African society and the destruction of traditional cultures. The traditional family of breadwinning father and homemaking mother is to be replaced with a genderless utopia.
Essential to the implementation of this new society is the elimination of all differences between men and women, insofar as that is possible. Abortion-on-demand is necessary to achieve this goal, and the Maputo Protocol aims to impose abortion-on-demand on the entire continent.
The Protocol calls for abortion for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother, and wants abortion allowed for the physical or mental health of the mother. The mental health exception is interpreted in the United States and other Western countries as allowing abortion-on-demand de facto because an abortionist can always claim a woman would have suffered distress if he had not performed the abortion.
Catholic leaders including the Pope, African cardinals, and African bishops have denounced the pro-abortion provisions of the Maputo Protocol.
The Maputo Protocol is a part of the decades-long campaign by Western elites to reduce the number of black Africans. Yet United Nations figures show that Africa is not overpopulated and cannot be for decades to come, if ever.