The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), located in Arusha, Tanzania, and some members of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) celebrated the International Women’s Day at the Court premises, on Thursday, 8 March 2018, under the theme “Impact of Corruption on women and girl-child welfare.”
This colourful event was marked by a series of activities such as a Key note address by its Guest of Honour, Round Table discussions, not forgetting the didactic poem and play staged by pupils of St. Jude School, Arusha.
At exactly 12 noon, members of the High Table, comprising mainly female Judges of the African Court as well as panelists made their entry in the Kibo Hall, the venue for the aforementioned activities. After the singing of the African Union anthem, the Registrar of AfCHPR, Dr Robert Eno a Cameroonian, welcomed everyone who had come to the Court under the banner of 8 March, which is celebrated worldwide as International Day for Women.
The Key note address, delivered by Mrs Charity Hanene Nchimunya, Executive Secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC) focused on the theme adopted by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR). She underscored that “2018 has been declared and dedicated by the African Union as the ‘African Anti-Corruption Year’. The focus of the year under the AU theme of ‘Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’ is to elevate the efforts and activities that all key players are deploying and implementing in fighting corruption on the continent in 2018.”
Corruption affects women and girl-child welfare in various forms. It manifests itself in public and essential services such as health, education inter alia, wherein women may not only be forced into bribery, but they are equally exposed to ‘sexual extortion’ in order to access these services. This cankerworm is evident in politics, law enforcement systems, conflict and war zones. “Women and are also subjected to corruption when seeking employment or pursuing their own businesses in both the formal and informal sector,” she added.
Transposing the aforementioned analysis to our Cameroon context, we are not oblivious to the negative effects of corruption in the health sector that has claimed lives. I remember one of my Secondary School teachers narrating how he went to a hospital with a colleague of his who was suffering from malaria. The nurse on duty pretended not seeing the patient. When he approached her with a “motivation,” the nurse exclaimed, “Na so dey di tok.” Many-a-Cameroonian has been affected, in one way or the other, by corruption. Who can forget the scandal in one of the Government hospitals in Sawa land?
After the key note address, there were round-table discussions moderated by Cameroonian-born, Hon. Lady-Justice Ntyam Ondo Mengue of the African Court. The various panellists took turns to sensitize the audience in attendance on the negative effects of corruption on women. These were marked by the characteristic question and answer session, which underscored the fact that corruption is a human rights violation and falls within the purview of the African Court on Human Peoples’ Rights jurisdiction of offences.
On a lighter note, the pupils of St. Jude School, Arusha thrilled the audience with a play depicting the ills of corruption. It is a reflection of our African Society wherein, upon the death of a family man, the widow and children are evicted from their property by the deceased’s relatives. Some further bribe Judges to inherit the said property. The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is fully cognizant of this abhorrent practice and adjudicates on matters, regarding Human Rights violations, submitted before it.
The day’s activities were crowned by the Closing Statement of Honourable Justice Sylvain Ore, the President of AFCHPR. He underscored that it was an honour celebrating the 2018 International Women’s Day at the African Court given the role “justice is expected to play in finding solutions to the challenges facing an Africa that is winning the war of development based on a more institutionalised battle against corruption.” He hoped that the celebration of the International Women’s Day would not only limit itself to speeches, but will be “translated into tangible outcomes in the exercise of the respective mandates of our institutions, including the policy organs of the African Union.”
Group photographs, followed by refreshments marked the end of the 2018 International Women’s Day celebrations. Long live the 2019 International Women’s Day!
Momekam Arnon, Arusha