Sexual violence as a violation of sexual and reproductive health rights : a case study of South African and Nigerian law on sexual violence against women.
Yebisi, Oyebanke Taiwo.
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The right to sexual and reproductive health is a right which finds footing in other rights including that of the right to life and survival, which is necessary for the fulfilment of other human rights such as the right to health; the right to freedom from sexual violence; and the right to freedom from torture, cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment. However, violations of the right to sexual and reproductive health, especially for women, occur in various forms; including that of sexual violence. There are various manifestations of sexual violence, including child marriage, marital rape, sexual abuse of children, female genital mutilation, and virginity testing, among others. At international and regional levels, various instruments have been adopted through the passing of resolutions and adoption of declarations at conferences and summits for the protection of sexual and reproductive health rights of women and protection from sexual violence. At the national level also, Nations all over the world have enacted various laws and introduced various policies to ensure that the right to sexual and reproductive health is protected and prohibit various forms of sexual violence against women. This thesis focuses on South African and Nigerian laws on the protection of sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly protection of this right in relation to sexual violence against women. International, regional and sub-regional instruments are used as a framework for the protection of women against sexual violence and the efforts of the selected countries are analysed based on this. This dissertation is based on the following questions: a. What legal and regulatory frameworks have been provided by South Africa and Nigeria for the protection of women and girls against child marriage and marital rape? b. How do international and regional instruments confront the problem of sexual violence, especially issues such as marital rape and child marriage; and how can this impact on Nigeria? c. How can the mechanisms available for the protection of women against sexual violence in South Africa be adopted in Nigeria to prevent and punish acts of sexual violence such as child marriage and marital rape and what adjustments should be made? d. What is the impact of practices such as child marriage and marital rape on the promotion and fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health rights in Nigeria? At the conclusion of the analysis of the various laws and policies in place in the selected countries, reforms and adjustments are proposed for Nigeria, which will ensure better protection of sexual and reproductive health rights, especially with protection from the forms of sexual violence discussed.
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