Workshop in Africa to Advance Women’s ESCR

Publish Date: 
Friday, June 26, 2015

The ESCR-Net's Women and ESCR Working Group brought together 35 African women’s rights advocates in Nairobi, Kenya, 16-18 June 2015, for the ‘International Mechanisms to Claim Women’s ESC Rights in Africa: Regional Workshop and Strategic Exchange.’ The workshop was co-organized by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) and guided by a wider Planning Committee of WESCR WG Members,  including  FIDA-Kenya, Center For Reproductive Rights (Kenya), Legal Resource Centre (South Africa), Chiadzwa Community Development Trust (Zimbabwe) and Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre (Nigeria).

The workshop brought together women’s human rights leaders from Kenya and  other African countries, as well as several advocates from other regions, in order to:

  • generate an exchange of experiences, both among advocates from the African region and with advocates from other regions;
  • increase capacity in relation to the use of relevant international human rights mechanisms, particularly the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (OP-ICESCR) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (OP-CEDAW), as key tools to advance the economic, social and cultural rights of women;
  • discuss emerging standards and tools in the area of women’s land and property rights, and how these can be used in advocacy in national, regional and international spaces; and
  • strengthen the global and regional coordination and implementation of women’s economic, social and cultural advocacy to ensure that women rights advocates have a united voice in demanding compliance with human rights obligations. 

Together, the OP-ICESCR and OP-CEDAW represent an enormous opportunity to advance the protection of women’s human rights, through the identification and addressing of the massive challenges that women continue to face in the enjoyment of their ESC rights in African countries.  It is essential that organizations and activists create spaces to discuss potential strategies for using these international mechanisms.Faciliating regional and global exchange, this workshop was the second regional workshop in a series.

The workshop included an exchange of experiences and an overview of the concept of substantive equality; capacity building and strategic discussion regarding UN and regional mechanisms; and in light of initial goals/challenges identified and the opportunities offered by such mechanisms, considered potential collective activities to advance women’s ESCR, with a specific focus on issues related to housing, land and property. 

Throughout the workshop, discussions aimed to recognize the best manner in which women’s groups can collaborate to advance women’s ESC rights in the region, including through the use of relevant international and regional mechanisms.

At the end of the meeting, participants suggested various areas where the Working Group could advance joint actions, in particular where such collective action could add value to already existing individual efforts. Please download here the report of the meeting.

See the list of participants of the meeting.

Download the report on the meeting.