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Lawyers Alert In ECOWAS Regional Court Against Nigeria For The Restrictive Abortion Law Against Victims Of Sexual Violence

In November 2023, Lawyers Alert, in partnership with the Afya na Haki institute, filed a landmark case in the ECOWAS Regional Court against the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The case, Dorothy Debee v. The Federal Republic of Nigeria argues that Nigeria’s restrictive abortion laws violate the rights of victims of sexual violence under the Maputo Protocol and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The lawsuit alleges that Nigeria’s failure to domesticate the Maputo Protocol, which guarantees access to safe abortion for survivors of sexual violence, deprives these victims of their fundamental human rights and access to healthcare. Lawyers Alert has provided evidence showing how the criminalization of abortion for sexual violence victims undermines their ability to seek care.

This groundbreaking case aims to establish an important legal precedent – that the persecution and exclusion of sexual violence survivors from accessing safe abortion services is a violation of regional and international human rights laws. By taking this issue to the ECOWAS court, the legal team hopes to compel Nigeria and other member states to fulfill their obligations to protect the sexual and reproductive health rights of all women and girls.

To learn more, visit Lawyer’s Alert

Afya na Haki (Ahaki) is an African research and training institute for health, human rights, and SRHR. Ahaki through its Litigating Reproductive Justice in Africa (LIRA) Programme expands legal access for underserved populations on SRHR through litigation. Lawyers Alert is a key implementing partner under the LIRA programme.

 Afya na Haki Institute works with African organisations and communities in health, human rights, and SRHR to fight for reproductive justice and liberation through research, advocacy capacity enhancement and litigation. Over the years, the Ahaki has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural reproductive injustices, gender oppression, socio-economic inequity, and governmental omissions and overreach. Learn more at LIRA PROGRAMME


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