The age 18 in Benin is also

The universal term of ‘sexual rights’
cover multi-dimensional issues, such as sexual violence, gender identity,
sexuality or sexual orientation, sexual health, harmful traditional practices
affecting women as well as marriage and family. Benin is currently struggling
to reduce the prevalence of harmful traditional practices affecting women and
sexual trafficking as well as improving the quality of sexual and reproductive
healthcare. Despite of its existing prevalence, Benin is progressing to reduce
the percentage of women and children affected with harmful traditional
practices, such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced or child marriage.

In 2001, the prevalence of FGM among women aged 15-49 was 16.8%i,
but the prevalence has reduced to 7.3% in 2017.ii The
percentage of girls married by age 18 in Benin is also decreasing from 34% in
2011iii
to 26% in 2016.iv
In terms of sexual and reproductive health, Benin has scored a good record,
yet, it’s facing the challenge of maternal health and family planning. It’s
recorded that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Benin for population aged 15-49 is
1.2% in 2011v
and it dropped to 1.0% in 2016. However, the existing human resources for
maternal health are limited with only 0.14 physicians per 1,000 population.vi In
2015, the maternal mortality ratio (deaths per 100,000 live births) is 405,
showing poor condition of new-borns in Benin. Benin is also doing progressive
efforts to eradicate sexual trafficking, especially among children and women. The
aforementioned statistics indicate that Benin is not the most vulnerable
country in terms of ongoing practice of harmful traditional practices and the
lack of sexual and reproductive healthcare services, but Benin needs to
undertake more intense efforts to resolve these particular issues.

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Benin has shown its significant
efforts to protect and promote sexual and reproductive rights among its
citizens, especially in trying to resolve the existing issues through
legislation and other non-legal measures. Benin has ratified the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in
1992.vii Benin
has also passed Law no. 2003-03 on the Repression of the Practice of FGM in the
Republic of Benin, which prohibits all forms of FGM, obliges medical staffs to
assist FGM victims, gives penalties to those performing FGM and those refusing
to report the occurrence of FGM.viii
Furthermore, Benin has explicitly prohibited forced marriage through Law No.

2011 of 9 January 2012 on the Prevention and Repression of Violence Against
Women, giving punishment for people conducting marriage without free and
informed consent from the two parties involved, as well as those involved in
the planning or execution of forced-marriage. The commitment of Benin to combat
sexual trafficking is shown through the establishment of an Ad-hoc Inter-Ministerial Committee to coordinate
trafficking efforts.ix
Other than legislations, Benin has also done numerous social movements, such as
turning circumcisers to campaigners against FGM/C, and a campaign in 2016 by
the Ministry of Social Affairs of Benin called ‘Zero Tolerance to Child
Marriage’ which aims to change social norms and create protective
environment for children and communities.

As
stated in the first paragraph, the term ‘sexual rights’ cover many layers of
issues and each Member State is faced with different issue of sexual rights. However,
Benin has observed that the attempts to resolve those issues are hampered due
to multiple standards contained in different international legal instruments
regulating sexual rights. The rooted cultural practices which dominates the
enforceability of existing national legislations is also another core problem
that needs to be addressed by international community. To overcome these
problems, Benin proposes a solution called SUPERMAN
(Special Undertaking on Sexual Rights’ Protection and Enforcement) which
outlines the following solutions:

1.    
Establishment of the
UN Convention on Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Sexual Rights Platform of Action, which will codify all provisions
relating to sexual and reproductive rights in existing international legal
instruments which will be promoted to Member States to ratify.

2.    
Creation of Sexual
and Reproductive Rights Committee under Office of the High Commissioner of
Human Rights which will coordinate the efforts on sexual and reproductive
rights enforcement and protection among related UN entities and give technical
and legal assistance towards Member States in implementing the Convention and
Platform of Action.

Creation of Centre
of Data Collection and Programme Evaluation on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
to collect reliable data of particular sexual rights issue in every Member
State and evaluate its programme referring to the Convention and Platform of
Action.

i
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/vaw_legislation_2009/Expert%20Paper%20EGMGPLHP%20_Berhane%20Ras-Work%20revised_.pdf

ii
http://www.refworld.org/topic,50ffbce4c9,50ffbce4f3,5a17fa514,0,,,BEN.html

iii http://www.refworld.org/docid/52eb83e54.html

iv https://www.girlsnotbrides.org/child-marriage/benin/

v
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/227081468200331081/pdf/629160BRIEF0Be0BOX0361514B00PUBLIC0.pdf

vi Ibid.

vii http://www.peacewomen.org/profile/country-region-profile-benin

viii
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/vaw_legislation_2009/Expert%20Paper%20EGMGPLHP%20_Berhane%20Ras-Work%20revised_.pdf

ix https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2017/271147.htm