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The 27th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming Kicks Off in Addis Ababa

The 27th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming Kicks Off in Addis Ababa

January 17, 2016
Press Release
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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 January 2016: The 27th session of the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) Pre-Summit Consultative meeting commenced on 17th January 2016 at the Conference Center of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia under the theme “Looking towards 2020: Securing Women’s Rights through Gender Equality and Silencing the Guns in Africa.” The theme is in sync with the African Union’s dedication of 2016 as the “African Year of Human Rights with particular Focus on the Rights of Women” and will also address commitments to women’s human rights as enshrined in Agenda 2063 and the Declaration on 2015 Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Addressing delegates on behalf of H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AUC, H.E Mrs. Fatima Haram Acyl, noted that the Year 2015 which was Year of women’s empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063, combined with 2016 year of human rights with particular focus on the rights of women, provides an opportunity for a holistic review of the status of women on the continent and also solidifies actions that Member States can take to protect the rights of women and youth. Commissioner Acyl highlighted the need to domesticate and implement instruments such as the Maputo Protocol, Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in Africa to foster elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. She further added that, through the African Union Agenda 2063, Africa is working towards a peaceful and secure continent by 2020 in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance through peace education and social economic transformation.

Commissioner Acyl underlined the need to put women at the fore front of peace building processes as they constitute more than fifty percent of the world’s population adding that, all harmful social norms and customary practices like early child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation which deprive women of achieving their full potential need to end. “I commend GIMAC for its collaborative work in putting women issues at the centre which challenges governments, civil society and gender based organizations to do more towards archiving women empowerment”, concluded the Commissioner of Trade and Industry of the AUC. (See complete speech of Commissioner Acyl on the AU website: www.au.int ).

Ms Elisabeth Rehn, Minister of States of Finland underscored the role of extreme religious conflict which she said are conservative to women and as a result has contributed immensely to the lack of protection for women and girls. It is therefore with that realisation that women from all spheres of life should come together and combine efforts to domesticate strategic frameworks to empower women within the continent. According to Minister Rehn, the best way to secure peace is by involving women and by providing complete support and understanding of men in the process. According to the Minister, mediation process at the time of conflict is not only to some top gentlemen, contrary, it involves women mediation network, as women work together as one large force to contribute to peace building in their various countries and therefore their involvement is paramount towards sustainable development.

Addressing the delegates, Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women in Africa in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, acknowledged the efforts of GIMAC in addressing pertinent issues which will later be presented as recommendations to the Heads of State and Government during the 26th African Union Summit scheduled to hold from 30 to 31 January 2016 at the AU Headquarters. She underscored the strategic framework and policies to enhance the rights of women in the continent. Commissioner Asuagbor pointed out that silencing the guns in Africa is a very ambitious goal, although Africa has put in efforts towards achieving this goal, she added that, it is imperative that women’s efforts are recognised in this efforts. She urged all those in leadership positions as well as the judiciary system to improve the economic and social status of both women and girls. “Women should be given access to justice through legal frameworks in their respective countries”, she said. The Commissioner further appealed to all Member States to ratify the Maputo declaration as a step towards empowering women in Africa.

Ms. Bineta Diop, African Union Commission Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security in her remarks recognized the strides that have been taken by the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC). She noted however that more still needs to be done in the areas of gender mainstreaming. Ms. Diop highlighted the great role played by GIMAC to create synergies between women led organizations which are focussed in bringing transformation to women in society. Ms.Diop further underline the great role played by women in peace building and reconciliation stressing that Africa can only achieve real peace with the active participation of women which will go a long way in realizing the African Union aspiration of silencing the guns and end gender based violence in Africa by 2020.

Ms.Priscillia M. Busabono, representative from the Young Women’s Christian Association in the Democratic Republic of Congo, stressed the urgent need to end child early marriage which puts the future of young girls in jeopardy as it denies girls access to quality education thereby discriminating them from decision making while exposing them to sexual violence. “Formal education, capacity building and strict policies to end child marriage are key to improve the situation of women in society”, noted the young and vibrant women’s activist. Ms. Busabono called on the involvement of academics, politicians and legal representatives to join in the awareness campaigns of ending early child marriage. She urged parents to encourage their daughters to stay in School.

Ms. Ngone Diop, Senior gender adviser at the African Centre for Gender UNECA, representing Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, emphasized on the need to have a strong commitment of African leaders in acknowledging the human rights with special focus on women. She said, women’s rights have to be integrated as part of human rights so that this can effectively contribute to the peace building and sustainable development in Africa. “A peaceful Africa cannot be achieved without the protection of women”. She noted.

GIMAC has a critical role to hold government accountable for the implementation of policies geared towards positive change on women’s rights and well beings. It is time we define strategic framework of positive transformative change on girls and women in Africa. Signing these frameworks is not effort, it is our responsibilities all to ensure these policies and frameworks are domesticated in the continent, acknowledged most of the GIMAC members.

BM/HB/ EAT

Media Contact:
Esther Azaa Tankou, Ag. Director of Information and Communication, African Union Commission (AUC)/ Tel: +251(0) 911361185 / E-mail: yamboue@africa-union.org

For further information:
Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@african-union.org I Website: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

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