miércoles, 30 de octubre de 2013

Supporting Malian Women for Peace

The Preliminary Ouagadougou Peace Agreement signed in June 2013 between the Malian transitional authorities, the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad and the High Council for the Unity of the Azawad, paved the way for an inclusive reconciliation process. The agreement was mediated by the President of Burkina Faso with the support of ECOWAS.

According to the spirit and the letter of UN SC Resolutions on women, peace and security (UN Security Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010)), Malian women must play an active role in the reconciliation process within which women’s rights must be a central issue.

During the conflict in Mali, women have been targets of violence, including rape and other crimes, and it is necessary to give them a stronger voice now that the future of Mali is at stake. We should keep in mind that on the basis of Resolution 1820 (2008), women’s claim for justice has to be addressed and sexual violence crimes must be excluded from amnesty. Impunity is not an option.

The Preliminary Ouagadougou Agreement set the basis for a process that should be conducive to a final comprehensive peace agreement. This process included the holding of presidential election and
the initiation of an inclusive dialogue process leading to the final agreement. In spite of the difficulties the presidential election was held, in two rounds (July and August 2013), and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita  (IBK) was voted into office.

Now, one of the biggest challenges for IBK is to organize the inclusive dialogue process. Dialogue will pivot around these four major themes: the administrative and institutional organization of Mali (especially in the Northern region: Gao, Tumbuktú and Kidal); a strategy  for regional and local development; security sector reform; and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). Other cross-cutting issues that will need to be addressed are: human rights, justice, reconciliation, refugees and internally displaced persons as well as good governance. 

There must be room for the full participation of Malian women and women’s organizations in the national dialogue process. We should keep in mind that Resolution 1820 (2008) underlines the relevance of the consultations with women and women-led organizations with regard to DDR Processes and Security Sector Reform.

Women for Africa Foundation and ECOWAS are cooperating in the implementation of a project in Mali, whose major goal is to train Malian women in mediation and dialogue and to provide them with the necessary support so that they can both participate in the national dialogue process and design and implement specific dialogue initiatives that can have a real impact in their local communities. 

I will keep you posted on the implementation of this project. 

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