A leading Mauritanian human rights defender is urging fellow rights champions, especially in Africa, to recognize the role of Islam in defending women rights.
"Islam has been misrepresented over the years, making many believe that the religion does not respect women’s rights," Dr. Cheikh Ould Zeine Ould Limam told Anadolu Agency in an interview in the Gambian capital Banjul.
"The Quran recognizes the rights and dignity of women and has, over the centuries, helped liberate women from the pre-Islamic cultures that violated their rights," he insisted.
Dr. Ould Limam has communicated the same message to a forum hosted by Gambia marking the 10th anniversary of the African Union Protocol on Women Rights, better known as the Maputo Protocol.
The forum discussed the gains of the protocol on the rights of women with speakers highlighting many challenges in different countries.
Participants noted that 36 out of the 54 African counties had adopted the Protocol but were slow to ratify and implement it.
"We need to engage African governments at national and continental level on this issue and interrogate why they are reluctant to implement the protocol," said Muthoni Muriithi of Africa Now, a gender NGO involved in advocating for the implementation of the Maputo protocol.
The Protocol guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process, to social and political equality and an end to genital mutilation.
The forum is part of deliberations ahead of the formal 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, due to begin here on Monday.
Dr. Ould Limam urged human rights organizations to work with Muslim scholars in defending human rights and clearing the misimpression that the Muslim faith condones gender violence.
"Islam preaches tolerance and service to humanity," he maintained.
"There are provisions in the Holy Quran that seek to protect the rights of women from discrimination and violence and advocate for the protection of women in adverse situations," added the prominent activist.
AALast Mod: 22 Ekim 2013, 14:43