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South Sudanese women speak back to visiting AU-UN Delegation

A  high-level delegation recently visited Rubkona, Bentiu, to help highlight the importance of women’s participation in the peace process in South Sudan.

The delegation to Bentiu, included Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,  Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women and Smail Chergui and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security,  the visit was aimed at emphasising realistic solutions that are needed to ensure women’s meaningful participation in the political process and future security arrangements in the country.

The delegation was met with a number of requests from the women in Sudan ,to make sure that the inclusion of women was emphasised in the  implementation and monitoring of the recently signed peace agreement.

According to UN Women news ,whilst  meeting with local women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said, “It is not normal and it is not acceptable that women live with violence and that they are sexually abused. This has to change, and we want to work with everyone so that the situation can change for the better.”

“The new peace agreement must work, we will do everything that we can in order to make sure that it works. Change will come when we work together with the people of South Sudan,” she added.

Mr. Chergui, the AU Commissioner assured the women that the African Union is keen on ensuring full participation of women in the peace process and they are working with all partners in the country and the sub region to ensure that the peace agreement is implemented. He urged women to monitor the implementation.  Speaking as a member of the African Union’s Panel of Wise people, Ms. Specioza Wandira-Kazibwe, the former Vice President of Uganda, affirmed that peace cannot be achieved if women are not part of the peace process.

Mr. Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations, applauded the partnership between the African Union, UN Women and UN Peacekeeping, emphasizing that the centrality of women, peace and security and enabling the participation of women in the effective implementation of the peace agreement is important for a stable and prosperous South Sudan.

He urged communities to play an active role in conflict management and in promoting reconciliation and peaceful coexistence. The Mission is aiming to seek solutions to end violence against women and to promoting women’s access to justice.

After the visit to South Sudan, the delegation will meet with the African Union leadership in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and brief the AU Peace and Security Council on the implementation of the peace agreement and the prioritization of women’s participation in peace and political processes as outlined in the new peace accord.

The peace agreement was confirmed in August this year between the South Sudanese government and the rebel leader Riek Macharrebel promises to end to the five-year civil war that has displaced millions of people and disproportionately affected women and children. Among other measures, the agreement includes a 35 per cent quota for women for executive appointments.

Source: UN Women news

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