Female Genital Mutilation will come under the spotlight as the Pan African Parliament sits for its last session of 2017 in Midrand from Monday.
More than 200 million girls and women have been cut in almost 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
The Parliament will focus on legal instruments relating to women’s rights, but it seems its role in general remains unknown to ordinary people on the continent.
As the Pan African Parliament resumes, women from the across the continent will meet Members of Parliament and Non-Governmental Organisations to discuss laws relating to women’s rights, with particular emphasis on Female Genital Mutilation.
“We will also have a women’s conference and at that conference, we will celebrate the international day of the girl child. But the conference itself is largely organised to focus on legal instruments affecting the African Union family that have not yet been ratified. So, it will focus on progress and ratifying these legal instruments, especially those that relate to women’s rights, to the rights of the youth and also those that are likely to impact matters relating to female genital mutilation,” says Pan African Parliament’s Clerk Vipya Harawa.
Resolutions of the Pan African Parliament are submitted to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government that meets in January and June.
As final preparations get underway in Midrand for what is to be the next sitting of the Pan African Parliament its role remains unclear to the governments and people of the continent.
“I think that we still have a lot of work to do in terms of visibility, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of demonstrating our mandate and we also have a lot of work to do in terms of getting the member states to rafity the protocol that establishes the Pan African Parliament.”
The Pan African Parliament meets four times a year.
President Jacob Zuma is among heads of state expected to address some sessions of the sitting.
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– By Nthakoana Ngatane