Despite the achievements made by Rwanda in implementing the Maputo Protocol, the issues surrounding sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) continue to be a challenge and will require multi-sectoral interventions, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion Jeannette Bayisenge has said. She was speaking at the ceremony to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the signing of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The Maputo Protocol is a binding legal framework that upholds the rights of women and girls in Africa and holds governments to account for the violation of these rights. Rwanda ratified the Protocol in June 2004. Bayisenge pointed out that the challenges around child defilement, teenage pregnancies, lack of proper community reintegration of GBV victims, limited access of information and services on sexual and reproductive health can only be fixed if all stakeholders pull their resources. “The successful implementation of the Maputo Protocol is not the sole responsibility of one Ministry or government agency dealing with gender, women or human rights. A wide collaboration and consultations are ongoing to come up with concrete and unconventional measures on how to address these remaining challenges,” she said. She reminded that Rwanda established a conducive institutional, legal and policy framework to protect women and girls’ rights and ensure gender equality and women empowerment. She pointed out that several laws, policies and programs to promote the rights of women and girls have been established including the law governing land which provides equal rights to women and men on access, use and control. The Executive Director of Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development (GLIHD) Tom Mulisa commended Rwanda which has used the instrument to adopt innovative laws, policies and other institutional mechanisms at a national level to advance women’s human rights. “The 2018 penal code omitted a court order requirement for pregnant women to seek abortion. Rwanda has put in place the GBV law, family law, and law on matrimonial regimes where men and women have equal rights on family property. There are still some gaps but the progress made so far gives us hope that we will eventually get there,” he said. In his remarks, the Executive Director of Health Development Initiative (HDI), Dr. Aflodis Kagaba said that celebrating Maputo Protocol is an opportunity to reiterate the value of bringing civil society organisations and the government together to appreciate what has been achieved but also review the gaps and chart the best way forward. “Whether it is government or civil society, our main goal is to advance the rights of women and girls and the best way we can achieve this is by working hand in hand on a daily basis, he said. Although 2020 was set as the deadline for the ratification of the Maputo Protocol, 13 countries are yet to ratify it including three that have not even signed it.