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Traditional practices (such as female circumcision, various birthing methods and early pregnancy) expected of, and maintained by, women in sub-Saharan African continue relatively unabated. So, too, does the harm these pose to women, including increased risks of maternal mortality, reproductive ill health and transmission of HIV/AIDS. Human rights standards and discourses have been used as a means towards their end. This study seeks to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the human rights approach within the specific context of sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on women as a group and their reproductive health. In so doing, the real potential and ideal application of the human rights approach are considered. This study begins by establishing a theoretical framework by defining and analysing the harmful traditional practices and human rights in question and the means by which the human rights approach may be expected to effect change.;It then identifies and resolves problems in the use of human rights instruments (particularly the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights), discourses (especially in relation to feminism) or strategies (such as that of human rights education and its impact on women's empowerment). In the final chapters, lessons are drawn from historical campaigns to end the harmful traditional practices of foot binding and widow burning in Asia, as well as initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa to end female circumcision. These are applied using the framework of human rights, particularly with regard to the role of the African State and its obligations under international human rights law. This book gives an inter-disciplinary and well-founded study on the human rights violations still occurring. The author gives many descriptions and examples, with statistical proof, of violations against women that take place without interference at either the national or regional level.