Delegates to the 2022 African Bar Association (AfBA) Annual General Conference have been challenged to use the law to protect rights of African children from policies meant to sexualise them.
Speaking yesterday during the opening of the four-day conference in Lilongwe, Family Watch International co-founder Sharon Slater alleged that United Nations (UN) agencies have been hijacked by Western donor countries to promote what she described as a hidden sexual rights agenda.
She claimed the agenda is sexualising children, legalising and de-stigmatising abortion and mainstreaming homosexuality and transgender ideologies into the laws, policies and programmes of African countries.
Slater said: “The UN Treaty committees have been monitoring member State compliance with UN treaties and have been re-interpreting and misinterpreting long-standing international human rights instruments, including the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child.
“These distorted children’s rights, under the guise of adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, are promoting fictitious rights such as the right to have sex for children as young as 10; right to homosexual and transgender expressions and rights to abortion for children and more.”
The activist thus urged the delegates to ensure that their presidents do not sign some of the legal instruments that have been drafted to advance the sexual agendas.
She cited five major legal threats facing African children such as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries-European Union (ACP-EU) agreement, which is awaiting ratification by African heads of State.
Slater said once ratified, the agreement will advance sexual and reproductive health rights abortion, and the agenda across Africa.
In response, Liberia Vice-President Dr Jewel Howard Taylor, who was the keynote speaker and one of the African Bar Medals of Merit recipients at the event, highlighted the need to unearth such evil being perpetrated on the African continent.
She said: “The information that she has provided is new. What it’s going to take is for each of us to raise our voices to bring to light this evil that is being perpetrated on the continent. This evil is addressing another form of injustice for our continent and our people.”
The conference is being held under the theme Instituting An Enduring Legacy of Transparent and Accountable Governance in Africa.
President Lazarus Chakwera, who was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony, spoke of the need for strong public institutions to fight corruption.
He said: “I am, therefore, persuaded that good governance can only be guaranteed by strong public institutions that uphold the rule of law, and I am even more persuaded that those who hold office in such institutions can only uphold the rule of law and the principles of good governance if they are required to be transparent and accountable.”
The President further observed that the Africa Agenda 2063 acknowledges good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice, and the rule of law as being key to Africa’s political and economic transformation.
Speaking on behalf of Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda, Judge Lovemore Chikopa stated that the African legal landscape has registered inspiring success stories in matters of the rule of law and democratisation.
He said: “The African legal profession has, for example, been instrumental in developing a unique African philosophy of human rights and its policies of regional and continental African court systems.
“African lawyers at the bar, the bench and in academia have inspired world history and brought about real social change including Malawi’s own Constitutional Court whose five judges last year won the prestigious Chatham House Award.”
The opening ceremony also saw about 10 Africans being presented with the African Bar Medals of Merit, including recently retired academician Professor Edge Kanyongolo, senior counsel Modecai Msiska, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Liberia’s Vice-President Taylor, former president of Ghana John Kufour, and Justice Edward Asante, the president of Ecowas Community Court, among others.
The event began with the transition of the AfBA flag from Niger, which hosted the 2021 annual conference, to Malawi which will in turn take it to the next annual general conference—with a promise to defend the law profession and work with the government in promoting the rule of law.