The Regional President of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) says her organization strongly kicks against the use of military intervention into the Ivorian crisis. Speaking at a press conference at the Mano River Union Secretariat in Freetown yesterday, Jasmine Jusu-Sheriff says they prefer a peaceful resolution of the crisis left in the wake of a presidential election in the MRU country in November last year which both incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alhassane Ouattara claim to have won.
The standoff has led to violence leading to the killing of peaceful demonstrators including some women reportedly shot dead by the security forces.
Ms Jusu-Sheriff says they stand both in solidarity and in mourning with seven Ivorian women murdered on the streets of Abidjan during a peaceful celebration on 3 March., adding that her organization’s stance on “the callous killing” of seven Ivorian women last week is unequivocal.
She said MARWOPNET and all other women in the MRU countries of Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone had spoken with one voice on the death of the Ivorian ‘sisters”.
She said no matter their political affiliations, to kill women, who were raising their voices to be heard was horrific and a violation of their Fundamental Human Rights. Ms Jusu-Sheriff said that women in the MRU region had suffered a lot for peace and security, adding that the conflict in Ivory Coast could reverse the gains made in the region and undermine the stability of all Mano River Union countries.
She said they were additionally disturbed by the situation of their women folk and children who were already internally displaced by escalating violence in the country, and expressed consternation at the “more shocking” denial of water and electricity to people living in northern Ivory Coast by the authorities in Abidjan.
Ms Jusu-Sheriff said they were in constant touch with their partners on the conditions of especially Sierra Leonean women living in Ivory Coast. “As at now, we have not heard any report that the power struggle in Ivory Coast has degenerated to targeting foreign nationals, especially women. So the situation, though worrying, does not leave Sierra Leonean women in any dreadful plight.”
She said that they were using the celebration of the International Women’s Day to draw the attention of decision-makers to the “desperate crisis situation” in Ivory Coast for an amicable resolution.