Cape Verde 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 Cape Verde:
  • 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 Cape Verde 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 Cape Verde can be viewed at

The Constitution of Cape Verde is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights. It enables Cape Verde to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should govern the interpretation of ambiguous legal norms, and supplement legislation if there are gaps (art. 16).

Why is the latter provision relevant for the policy process?

This highly strengthens international human rights law within Cape Verde. It provides an extremely useful tool for advocates, forces policymakers to consider human rights in drafting and implementing public health policies, and grants individuals a strong mechanism to hold the State accountable for failure to operationalize their rights.

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

Right to a clean environment (art. 70)
Right to adequate housing (art. 69)
Right to education (art. 73)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 22)
Right to equality within marriage (art. 44.3)
Right to equal pay for equal work (art. 59.5)
Right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 26)
Right to freedom of association (art. 27, art. 51)
Right to freedom of enterprise (art. 65)
Right to freedom of expression (art. 27)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 50)
Right to health (art. 68)
Right to inherit (art. 66.2)
Right to just and favorable work conditions (art. 59.4)
Right to liberty and security (art. 26, art. 28)
Right to life (art. 26)
Right to marry (art. 44)
Right to non discrimination on the grounds of race (art. 22)
Right to non discrimination on the grounds of sex (art. 22)
Right to own and transfer property (art. 66)
Right to participate in political and social life, and in the conduct of public affairs (art. 54, art. 55)
Right to private and family life (art. 38)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 45)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 15, art. 19, art. 20, art. 55)
Right to social security (art. 58.2, art. 67)
Right to special protection for youth for their mental and physical development (art. 71)
Right to work (art. 39, art. 58)

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

Under its Constitution Cape Verde is to take active steps to ensure the rights of its citizens. Cape Verde must:

  • ?guarantee the respect for Human Rights and [?] ensure the full exercise of the fundamental right sand liberties of all citizens? (art. 7.1.b)
  • promote the autonomous organization of civil society (art. 7.1.f)
  • ?create, progressively, the necessary conditions for the transformation and modernization of the economic and social structures, so as to make the economic, social and cultural rights effective? (art. 7.1.i)
Several provisions give Cape Verde a precise mandate to promote the health of its population. Cape Verde must:
  • establish ?an adequate network of health services? (art. 68.2) as well as ?ensure, in conformity with the economic resources available, a national, universal and hierarchical health service, based on complete coverage, priority being given to preventive activities.? (art. 68.3.a)
  • ?discipline and control the production, commercialization and the use of the chemical, biological, pharmaceutical and other means of treatment, as well as the diagnoses.? (art. 68.3.d)
  • address the underlying determinants of health, through the ?gradual creation of economic, social and cultural conditions necessary to guarantee the improvement of quality of life of the populations.? (art. 68.2)
  • ensure the democratic participation of stakeholders in the health policy process by requiring Cape Verde to ?encourage the participation of the community in different levels of health services? (art. 68.3.b) and to ?coordinate and discipline public and private initiatives in the field of health.? (art. 68.3.c)
Specific provisions are very important for the promotion of women?s health by targeting the social causes that lead to poor sexual and reproductive health. The Constitution:
  • protects women within marriage by providing for the equality of spouses within marriage (art. 44.3), and by imposing on Cape Verde ?the duty to undertake the elimination of the conditions which are conducive to discrimination against women and to ensure the protection of their rights, as well as the rights of the children? (art. 81.2)
  • empowers women in the workplace by providing for their right to equal pay for equal work (art. 59.5), and by protecting pregnant worker (art. 59.6)
In addition, it provides for the accountability of public entities for failing to ensure the rights protected under the Constitution (art. 15).
Why is that important? 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 further research or information, please contact the Human Rights Working Group.