Building Peace and Democracy in Africa – Women must be Equal Partners!
As Africa commemorates the International Day of Democracy on 15th September and the Peace Day on 21st September, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) urges African governments to take concrete steps to secure equal participation of women and men in democratic, peace and security processes.
FEMNET commends the African Union for declaring 2010 as the Year of Peace and Security, and further applauds the six Member States who thus far have ratified the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
However, to ‘Make Peace Happen,” it must be recognized that peace is inextricably linked to democracy, good governance, respect of human rights and sustainable development. Further, it must also be acknowledged that without the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment, peace and security cannot be truly sustained. It is well documented that the impact of war and conflict on men’s and women’s lives is gender-differentiated, and therefore women’s voices and full participation must be present at all levels of decision making to ensure sustainable peace as a prerequisite for democracy.
FEMNET therefore calls on African governments, women’s organizations and other civil society, and development partners, to work in concert during this Year of Peace to ensure that:
- At least 9 Member States ratify the African Charter on Democracy - which obligates States to uphold the principle of gender equality, eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, and ensure gender parity in representation at all levels of government - so that the Charter enters into force this year.
- Member States accelerate the development and full implementation of national action plans for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women’s full participation in peace and conflict resolution processes.
- The 25 Member States who have not ratified the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which provides for women’s right to peace, equality and development, do so with urgency as a way of demonstrating their commitment to move to full implementation of the Protocol during the Africa Women’s Decade (20010 – 2020).
Without peace we cannot have democracy and without gender equality and women’s empowerment peace is not sustainable.
This article was originally posted on Sustainable Development Africa Platform