Benin has ratified the following documents:
  • African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People's Rights
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Benin:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Benin to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Benin can be viewed at http://www.ethnonet-africa.org/data/benin/const1990.htm#Constitution1990

The Constitution of Benin is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It explicitly obliges Benin to respect, protect and fulfill all rights enunciated in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (art. 7).

The Constitution enables Benin to translate international agreements into domestic law. It obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights is enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to a clean, satisfactory and sustainable environment (art. 27)
Right to development (art. 9)
Right to education (art. 8, art. 12, art. 13)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 26)
Right to freedom of expression (art. 23)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 25)
Right to freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment (art. 18)
Right to health (art. 8)
Right to liberty and security (art. 15)
Right to life (art. 15)
Right to non-discrimination on the grounds of race (art. 26)
Right to non-discrimination on the grounds of sex (art. 26)
Right to own property (art. 22)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 23)
Right to work (art. 30)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

The Constitution obliges Benin to:

  • ensure to all equal access to health care, education and information, professional training and employment (art. 8)
  • provide special protection to the family, mothers and children (art. 26)
  • disseminate knowledge about the constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights (art. 40)
The Constitution expressly ensures equality between men and women (art. 26).

The Constitution provides that citizens are obliged to respect the rights of others (art. 34, art. 36).

What does that entail? This provision could be interpreted to require that Benin take the necessary measures to ensure that individuals do not violate others' rights (education and training, for instance) and to punish those that do (fines, imprisonment). For additional research or information, please contact the Human Rights Working Group.

The Constitution provides for the punishment of State agents (e.g. law enforcement officers, but also teachers and health care providers in public settings) who subject another to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (art. 19).

Why is that important? This provision enables the accountability of public authorities for such acts. It is the value added of human rights to public health to make public authorities accountable for failing to ensure rights. Accountability is also a mechanism to ensure implementation of policies and laws, including those adopted to further individual rights. For additional research or information, please contact the Human Rights Working Group.