Greater women empowerment, training on gender issues, reform of legal systems and a sanction imposition are some of the strategies the Africa Union (AU) should adopt in 2010: the Year for Peace, according to gender experts meeting ahead of the AU summit.
The AU has already designated 2010 as the Year for Peace and Security that will see increased implementation and action on United Nations Security Council resolutions 1325, 1820,1888 and 1889 that deal with the rights of women in conflict, post-conflict and peace building situations.
‘The AU needs to incorporate a gender advisor requirement for the negotiation process in Sudan. For instance, they let women participate in civil society organisations and not in peace and negotiation processes where decisions are made,’ said Kelly Fish, a participant contributing in the general discussions. Colonel Kani Coulibaly, a senior military officer and trainer of peacekeepers, was of the same view: ‘In all African peace keeping missions, women have less than ten per cent representation despite the fact that women are better morally equipped in conflicts and post conflicts zones than men’. She added that all peacekeepers have to be trained on women’s rights and on the rule of law.
Participants expressed the urgent need to empower women to be able to contribute meaningfully in the various discussions on Year for Peace and Security as well as be members of others AU technical teams.
There are, nevertheless, best practices to celebrate such as the UNSCR 1325 action plan of Liberia that acts as a monitoring tool of implementation of the resolution, with deliverables every 90 days.