A cross section of women drawn from across the country has identified the challenges and mapped out new strategies on the impact of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women participation in peace and security in Sierra Leone.
The forum was organized by a coalition for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in Sierra Leone with support from International Alert in collaboration with Grassroots Empowerment for Self Reliance (GEMS), Women’s Partnership for Justice (WPJP), Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) SLANGO and the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the forum, the Deputy Minister of Gender and Children Affairs, Jeneh Kandeh said that the United Nations Resolution 1325 which focuses on women at decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and their involvement in preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts around the world.
She added that, the resolution provides training guidelines and materials on protection, rights, and needs of involving women in peacekeeping and peace-building measures, and HIV/AIDS awareness in national training programs.
She noted that international laws regarding the rights and protection of women and girls, especially as civilians, during armed conflicts, take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse and violence in situations of armed conflict
The deputy Minister catalogued some of the challenges facing women in Sierra Leone which include the lack of effective monitoring and evaluation of women issues and lack of adequate knowledge on the United Nation Resolution 1325 and the need to ensure the Security Council missions take into account gender considerations and the rights of women, including through consultations with local and international women’s groups.
She promised to conduct a study on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls, the role of women in peace-building and the gender dimensions of peace processes and conflict resolutions, and then submit the results to the Security Council and make the study available to all UN Member states.
Country Director of NDI based in Sierra Leone Honorine Muyoyeta spoke about the need to involve women in resolving conflicts and also emphasized the significant role women are playing in peace building, and peacekeeping operations, and expressed the need to provide women candidates from a regular-updated, centralized roster for appointment as special representatives and envoys to facilitate the appointment of more women in these positions.
She further spoke about the need for women to be actively involved in governance and take decisions that will protect and promote women’s progress to the Security Council on gender main-streaming, throughout peacekeeping missions and all other aspects relating to women and girls.
Barbara Bangura of Grassroots Empowerment for Self Reliance (GEMS) in her presentation briefly gave an overview of the UNSCR 1325 to participants and further spoke about the implementation impact in Sierra Leone. She called on participants to critically input their ideas on the way forward and map out strategies for a comprehensive and collaborative implementation of the resolution in Sierra Leone.
Nancy Sesay of the Talking Drum Studio spoke about the role of the media in the implementation of the UNSCR1325 while Tennyson Williams of ActionAid spoke about how to develop a collaborative frame work to create a greater impact.
Gladys Brima Gbapie of Women’s Partnership for Justice (WPJP), in her presentation identified the need for the development of regional and national action plans on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 to Sierra Leone. The United Nations Resolution was adopted by the UN Security Council at its 4213th meeting, on 31 October 2000 on women, peace and security.
By Saidu Bah