Consultation between the AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Madame Bineta Diop and the women's representatives from CSOs, the academia and research institutions in Africa is gathering momentum at the AU New Complex in Addis Ababa.
Responding to issues raised by the women delegates as part of their preparations for engagements with the AU Peace and Security Council tommorrow, Mme Bineta Diop identified the missing link between commitment and implementation as one of the major causes of perpetual conflicts on the continent. In her view, there has been enough commitment, enough Resolutions, legislation and protocols. What is lacking is the political will by African member states to take action. Women across the continent need to work hand in glove with the AU Gender Peace and Security Department, and directly with the office of the SE to develop all the necessary tools for implementing and measuring progress, and for making demands for action from our governments to ensure the silencing of guns in twenty years time on the African continent.
‘It is every woman’s work at all levels. We have to work with all government departments, female parliamentarians and female ministers, female Ambassadors and women’s NGOs, women’s networks, academics and researchers to build cohesion and make sure we are walking in the same train to end war and silence the guns in twenty years’ time. We need a coalescence of effort and a critical mass of actors," said Mme Diop.
Speaking at the same event, Rita Martin, Executive Director of the EVE Organisation for Women Development in Juba, Sudan disparaged impunity and condemned amnesty for war instigators in Africa.
"What really is amnesty, and of what value is it when it causes more pain to women, and to the populace? Why are some people allowed to go out and kill without being arrested and prosecuted, and why are men allowed to go out and kill, destroy, and when they come back they are immediately rewarded with power and granted amnesty with not reparations at all for others on whom they caused pain? After war in Africa focus is usually on which man gets which position of power but no strategies are put in place for rehabilitation of women who have spent years of suffering, poverty, hunger and trauma in war and in the refugee camps. Where are the budgets for post conflict reconstruction?"
Half way through the day, and less than24 hours before the Peace and Security Open Session tomorrow, the Consultative Meeting participants are busy drafting key messages for strategic submission to the PSC.
The AU PSC is the African Union's (AU’s) standing decision-making body responsible for the maintenance of continental peace and security. It has 15 members, elected by the AU Executive Council on regional basis (three from Central Africa; three from East Africa; two from North Africa; three from Southern Africa; and four from West Africa).
Members are elected for three-year (five members) or two-year (ten members) terms and can be re-elected immediately for another term. There are no permanent members and no veto. The PSC chairmanship rotates on a monthly basis, in alphabetical order of the English-language names of member states. Current membership of the PSC is held by the following countries, Algeria, Burundi, Chad, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Guinea, Libya, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.