Gambari: Women Empowerment, Key to African Development

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•As African envoys in Nigeria celebrate 53rd Africa Day

By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

A former  Minister of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Nigerian Representative to the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, has said that empowerment and preservation of women’s rights is key to overall development of Africa.

According to a statement signed on Friday by Mr. Nat Bayjay on behalf of the African Ambassadors Group, Gambari made this call when he delivered a lecture titled: “African Year of Human Rights With a Special Focus on the Rights of Women”, in celebration of 53rd African year.

He advised all African Union (AU) member states to commit to the universal ratification and domestication of the Maputo Protocol by the end of this year if women must form an integral part of all development efforts on the continent.

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in collaboration with African Union, its Commission and its human rights mechanisms should support this endeavour”, he stated.

The former envoy noted  that Africa needs to utilise its strength as the largest regional grouping in the world.

“If you don’t have ambition for yourself, no one else would”, he told the African heads of mission.

He said: “First, women rights and empowerment of women should be regarded as inseparable from broader human rights for all peoples. Second, states, civil society and youths and general population in Africa need to be sensitized on human rights issues for a better understanding of international human rights mechanisms.

“Third, increased awareness, promotion and protection of the rights of women should be regarded as non-negotiable. Fourth, there is a need to change the old narrative about Africa in order to catch up with the reality of new and huge opportunities in Africa for investments and partnership for mutual benefits to the Africans and the rest of the world.”

Further details later