Representatives of various advocacy networks for Women in Peace Building and Security across the three Mano River Union countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, are developing action plans and strategies at a three-day seminar held in the Conference Room of Hill Valley Hotel, for the adoption of provisions codified in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
At the opening session of the three-day workshop yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mrs. Rosaline O. Sankoh, said that the development of every country depends to a very large extent on the contribution of women.
She said that women have made significant contributions to peace and security in countries that have experienced wars especially in the Mano River Union countries.
Therefore, she went on, women should be included in peace processes to ensure sustainable development and the emancipation of women folks in the sub-region.
Madam Sankoh said that even though much is needed to properly adopt the provisions inherent in UNSCR 1325, the government has a strong political commitment in ensuring that issues relating to the rights and development of women are promoted.
“Our government in line with the Security Council strongly condemns the continued acts of gender-based violence in our beloved country, and supports the institutions charged with the mandate of prosecuting and punishing perpetrators and even to name and shame them,” she said. “The partnership among civil society, UN Agencies and the government should be fostered to promote women’s peace and security within the sub region.” She added.
Further reiterating government’s commitment to ensuring the 30% quota of women in governance, Mrs. Sankoh said “the government has further shown commitment in promoting women’s rights in social, political and economic fields. This is manifested in several ways including the appointment of women to senior positions of governance at all levels; the implementation of the TRC recommendations especially those relating to the reparation for war victims, presidential apology which was given by President Koroma, and further commitment to the minimum 30% quota for women in governance.”
She suggested that other government apparatus working on security issues, women’s groups, United Nations system and the civil society come onboard to effectively implement the plan developed by the respective countries to the fullest.
The Deputy Secretary General at the MRU Secretariat, Mrs. Linda Koroma said “MRU will support the initiative and agenda of the workshop, and ensure that we enforce sub-regional approach to issues on women and children’s rights”
Mr. Jackson Spears of International Alert who also doubled as moderator of the opening session, said that the workshop at the end of the day, is aimed at bringing together key duty bearers and policy makers from the three MRU countries, to focus on peace and security for women and girls and also intensify advocacy at national and sub-regional governmental levels.
He also said that they are expecting the provision of information and share ideas on Alert and partners’ alternative responses to increasing access to justice for women and girls and the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in the MRU Basin, and to strengthen networking and increase collaboration between and amongst national advocacy groups, national policy makers and the sub-regional MRU body
By Poindexter Sama