Women Should be in the Forefront to Silence Guns in Africa, Says AU Commissioner

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ENA ,February 3/2020 Women have to be in the forefront of the struggle to silence guns in Africa, AU Political Affairs Commissioner said.

The35th Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) pre-summit consultative meeting kicked off today under the theme “Recognizing and Amplifying Women and Girls Agency to Silence the Guns in Africa.”

In her opening remark, AU Political Affairs Commissioner Minata Samate Cessouma said women are the most affected and primary victims of armed conflicts as they are weaponized and subject to traffic, sexual abuse and violence.

This is unacceptable, she said, stressing that “it has to end. That is the reason why women have to be in the forefront of the struggle to silence guns in Africa.”

“If we are included, integrated in all negotiations, all peace processes and conflict prevention processes, I am sure guns will be silenced in the African continent,” Commissioner Minata elaborated.

The African Union Commission is committed to advancing the voices of women in peace processes in the continent, she noted.

ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe said “we must continue to remind our leaders that if we continue to have violence, the women who form the fabric of our society will never be able to support our society.”

According to her, an estimated 200,000 women have been raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo since conflict erupted in that country.

The executive secretary pointed out that Africa has made some progress, but not enough. “Let us create an African human security index because if we cannot measure progress it is going to be very difficult to change the numbers and improve.”

It was indicated that recognition shall be given to the voice and agency of women and girls in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, although conflict exacerbates their vulnerability.

It is quite evident that women and girls at the grassroots level play immeasurable role in shaping everyday peace.

The two-day pre-summit consultative meeting will deliberate on the role and agency of young women in silencing the guns, integrating gender into human rights, how investing in education ensures conditions of peace, and the impact of conflict on rural women and girls.