The CRPD builds upon the gains of the African Women’s Protocol through a number of provisions that enhance the protection of women’s sexual and reproductive rights.In its preamble, the Convention recognises the inherent dignity and worth of every human being as a basis for the rights contained therein.According to the ICDP, reproductive rights:14 are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.It is clear from the above that the right to sexual and reproductive health includes the ability of an individual to make choices about his/her reproduction, to be entitled to information and education about his/her sexuality and to be free from all acts of gender-based violence.15 It is also clear that the recognition and realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights is contingent upon the recognition and protection of other rights such as the right to dignity, non-discrimination, or protection from violence.Women with disabilities experience more barriers as exacerbated by social attitudes and systemic responses to disability which tend to diminish the sexual needs of persons with disabilities.
By critically evaluating the standards set out in both instruments as well as the resulting approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights, the article identifies the linkages and synergies between the African Women’s Protocol and the CRPD in the protection of sexual and reproductive rights of women in Africa.
The provisions of the Protocol on sexual and reproductive rights of women in Africa are a strong starting point for enhanced protection of such rights.
The Protocol specifically led the way in the recognition of sexual and reproductive rights as part of the right to health.
Generally, sexual and reproductive rights are some of the most controversial, underdeveloped, and least understood spheres of rights, especially in Africa.
The sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities are even more susceptible to abuse fuelled by negative social attitudes and beliefs.