Women judges have called on African governments to domesticate international conventions that promoted the rights of inheritance for women and children born under vulnerable circumstances.
The call is contained in a communique issued at the end of the first West African Sub-Regional Conference for Women Judges, held in Abuja.
The three-day conference was organised by the International Association of Women Judges and National Association of Women Judges in Nigeria.
The judges also urged governments within the African sub-region to systematically formulate and implement gender-related policies that empower and protect women.
”The West African sub-region traditionally has recognised customary systems of inheritance which do not always protect the rights of women and children, particularly those born under vulnerable circumstances.
”We advocate that our respective governments which have made commitments to international conventions, should domesticate them (conventions) and women judges should be proactive in adjudication.
”Governments, civil society organisations and religious bodies within the West African sub-region, should collaborate and take urgent steps to continuously sensitize communities on international conventions that have been domesticated.
”It should be ensured that the judgments of courts that define the rights to inheritance for women and children, particularly those born under vulnerable circumstances, are enforced,” they said in the communiqué.
Other resolutions were on child marriage, girl-child education, sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking.
The judges maintained that the issue of child marriage was an ‘endemic harmful practice’ which should be discouraged.
Countries were urged to reinforce their respective borders and collaborate on establishing machinery to curtail the incidents of human trafficking.
They also resolved that investigation and prosecution of incidents of sexual assault and domestic violence should be thorough and more robust by all law enforcement agencies.
The judges called for sensitization of victims to report such incidents, and that dequate machinery be put in place for their protection and that of their witnesses.
Women in the sub-region were urged to be very proactive in mentoring, promoting and protecting women’s rights. (NAN)