Legal Grounds I: Reproductive Rights in African Courts
Gender-based discrimination constitutes one of the greatest threats to women’s health and lives worldwide. Equality along with reproductive and sexual rights are guaranteed in international and regional human rights treaties, as well as in many domestic laws. However, such guarantees are empty promises if not recognized and enforced by national-level courts, which are important venues through which women’s rights are affirmed or denied. Unfortunately, existing human rights resources focus primarily on international norms and their national codification; very few examine the interpretation and application of such norms by national courts. Even fewer resources consider whether and how national jurisprudence addresses women’s human rights. The sub-Saharan Africa region suffers from even greater scarcity of accessible information regarding the jurisprudence of African national courts, particularly on how the courts deal with women’s human rights. This compilation is a preliminary step toward enhancing access to and knowledge about some of the gender-relevant jurisprudence of African Commonwealth countries, with particular emphasis on reproductive and sexual rights.