WOMEN’S CALL FOR PEACE

27 November 2008 by World March of Women


PEACE and DEMILITARISATION COLLECTIVE in the GREAT LAKES REGION of AFRICA

This organisation brings together women from groups in Rwanda, Burundi, and North/South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

WOMEN’S CALL FOR PEACE

We, the women of the Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo groups, in alliance with the World March of Women, are issuing a call for peace in the African Great Lakes Region and around the world;

Deeply concerned by the renewed outbreaks of wars and the ongoing armed conflicts in the Great Lakes Region;

We note with distress:

- that women and children are particularly affected by these conflicts, which lead to severe consequences for them such as, amongst others, massacres, sexual violence namely in the form of rape used as a weapon of war, all other types of violence, abductions, sexual trafficking, massive forced displacements of the civilian population, rising poverty levels and the propagation of HIV/AIDS;

- that the fundamental cause of violence against women is the deep-rooted patriarchal system in which women are marginalised and their needs and rights denied because of their gender;

- the failure to apply UN Security Council Resolution 1325;

- that the UN peacekeeping forces present in the sub-region are not improving the situation and that, in contradiction to their assignments, some of these blue helmets are themselves committing acts of sexual violence, thereby further aggravating the conflict;

- that the international system of conflict management, including the UN mechanisms, is not effective;

- that the uncontrolled manufacture, sale and circulation of arms contribute to the persistence of violence and to the destabilisation of the sub-region and of the world;

- that the culture of impunity has taken root in the sub-region and throughout the world;

- that war is the result of a system of unjust and patriarchal distribution of and access to the planet’s riches;

- that rebel groups and the various negative forces with their genocidal ideologies continue to operate in the African Great Lakes Region;

- that the political and economic powers fuel this situation in order to satisfy their own selfish economic interests;

We denounce:

- the rebel groups and negative forces still present in the sub-region, that continue to cause instability and to rape women, young girls and even men, thus endangering any hope of peace;

- the negative role of the national and international media, whose messages fan the flames of the conflict by distorting reality;

We ask:

- the International Community to pressure and hold accountable the governments of the sub-region that have signed agreements but not fulfilled the commitments undertaken therein;

- the United Nations to adapt their remit to the actual situation in the Great Lakes countries and to immediately disarm the rebel groups and negative forces in the sub-region;

- the United Nations to punish those blue helmets responsible for acts of sexual violence against women and young girls;

- the humanitarian aid agencies to protect the civilian population, to denounce sexual violence against women and young girls and to provide for appropriate care Care Le concept de « care work » (travail de soin) fait référence à un ensemble de pratiques matérielles et psychologiques destinées à apporter une réponse concrète aux besoins des autres et d’une communauté (dont des écosystèmes). On préfère le concept de care à celui de travail « domestique » ou de « reproduction » car il intègre les dimensions émotionnelles et psychologiques (charge mentale, affection, soutien), et il ne se limite pas aux aspects « privés » et gratuit en englobant également les activités rémunérées nécessaires à la reproduction de la vie humaine. for victims of rape;

- the governments of the Great Lakes countries to resolve conflicts through genuine dialogue that includes women, in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325;

We demand:

- that women be recognised as actors and negotiators for peace and that they participate in all processes for the prevention, management and peaceful resolution of conflicts, as well as in the reconstruction of their respective countries;

- that the African Union fulfil its responsibilities by becoming truly involved in the resolution of conflicts between African States;

We enjoin:

- the various governments in the sub-region to meet their commitments undertaken through the signature of various peace and cease-fire agreements, and of agreements to disarm the negative forces and to apply non-aggression pacts;

We call upon:

- the civilian population of countries in conflict to denounce all acts that violate human rights, particularly violence against women and children, as well as the enduring state of war;

We declare:

- our solidarity with women suffering from conflicts and war around the world.

We stand together with:
The women of the African Great Lakes Region , Burundi, DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, where brutal conflicts and systematic sexual violence against women are rampant, despite the peace and cease-fire agreements
The women of Rwanda – together we say “Never again!” to genocide
The women of Sudan during this crisis period, in which their country is subjected to massive violations of women’s rights
The women of Burma, who are suffering from State-sponsored violence. We firmly call upon the Burmese military regime to immediately release democratic leader and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi
The women of Mesoamerica (from Mexico to Panama), where hundreds of women are victims of feminicide
The women of Iraq and Palestine, who live under occupation and are deprived of all of their fundamental rights
The women around the world who are alone and isolated in regions in conflict and militarised zones.

We ask the Secretary General of the United Nations to make all possible efforts to encourage the Member States to apply UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

We ask the international community to take a stand with us against sexual violence and to adopt measures to prevent the perpetuation of this violence.

We ask the governments to hold the perpetrators of sexual violence accountable and to bring them to trial.

We consider the participation of women in the struggle to create a culture of peace as crucial. By fully incorporating the gender perspective into conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict peacebuilding, we will be able to ensure that women have a role to play at the forefront of peacebuilding and to guarantee that their rights are respected.

Desire for reconciliation
The meetings held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Rwanda would not have been possible without the very strong willingness on the part of women in the region, whose States have been in conflict and where the local communities have been decimated, to work toward peace and reconciliation beyond national, ethnic and tribal boundaries.

PEACE and DEMILITARISATION COLLECTIVE
The Collective coordinates the analyses and interventions of women on the subject of peace and demilitarisation, and seeks to ensure the participation of women in peace processes at the local level and on the international stage. The organisation brings together women from four groups: PRO-FEMMES in Rwanda, CAFOB in Burundi, and CAFED North Kivu and COFAS South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.




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