European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The convention (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) entered into force in September 1953. All Council of Europe member states are party to the ECHR.

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American Convention on Human Rights

The human rights convention of the Organisation of American States is concerned with political and civil rights. The convention was adopted in 1969 in San Jose and entered into force on July 18, 1978.

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The African Charta on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The human rights convention of the African Union (known as Banjul Charter) was adopted in 1981 and entered into force in 1986. All 53 countries of the African Union have ratified the convention. It defines not only civil and political rights, but also social, economic, and cultural rights.

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Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará)

The Convention was adopted in 1994 in Belem do Para and entered into force on March 5, 1995. It deals with the elimination of physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women and formulates various measures that members of the convention have to implement.

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Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol)

The Maputo Protocol is a supplement and was adopted in 2003 and entered into force on November 25, 2005. It deals specifically with the rights of women and guarantees social and political equality, control over reproductive health and demands an end to female genital mutilation.  

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EU Commission Communication on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Cooperation

The 2007 paper and the related Council conclusions are the first step towards a coordinated European approach to promoting gender equality and empowering women through development cooperation. It identifies five areas for action (Governance, employment and economic activities, education, health, gender-based violence) and provides guidelines on how to integrate gender equality into other development policies more effectively.

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EU Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls and Combating All Forms of Discrimination Against Them

In 2008 the EU adopted the guidelines that manifest the political will to take long-term action in this field. The operational objectives of the guideline include combatting discrimination against women, developing indicators on violence against women, devising effective and coordinated strategies and combatting the impunity of perpetrators. Furthermore, the guidelines include approaches that member states and the EU can apply.

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