Second African Union Peace and Security Council Livingstone Formula on Women and Children in Armed Conflicts

Women Survivors of Sexual Violence urge to AU Member States that sexual violence is recognized as a crime against humanity

 

The statement produced during a training workshop organized by FAS was delivered during the Second Open Session of the Peace and Security Council Livingstone Formula on Women and Children in Armed Conflicts

"In spite of all the African Union and UN instruments, armed conflicts continue unabated and sexual violence against women in these situations is carried out by all parties to these conflicts with impunity. Women's involvement would help to put the issues of the survivors of sexual violence on the table, in order to find sustainable solutions". This was part of the statement that Women Survivors of Sexual Violence delivered during the Second Open Session of the Peace and Security Council Livingstone Formula on Women and Children in Armed Conflicts held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 28, 2011.

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This statement, on behalf of Women Survivors from Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe, was a result of a training workshop organized by Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) in partnership with UN Women, Oxfam (GB), Urgent Action Fund-Africa, and Isis-WICCE which took place on 27 March and where women exchanged their testimonies and broke the taboo around discussions related to sexual violence. The meeting was also attended by Mrs Margot Wallstrom, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General against sexual violence, and some members of the Panel of the Wise.

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"All of us present here bear the marks of the violence that is meted out on women in such situations: the rape, gang rape, sexual slavery and torture, the mutilation of our genital parts to the extent that some of us no longer consider ourselves as women (...) Our dignity has been torn into shreds", explained the women through the statement who didn't wanted to be seen only as a passive victims, but also as active actors, survivors and promoters of peace. "We call upon Member States to put in place mechanisms that will ensure full recovery of our bodies, minds and souls and involve us in planning, designing, and implementing the recovery and rehabilitation programmes", women survivors announced. Also they asked Member States "to ensure that national legislation acknowledges sexual violence as a crime against humanity and implement existing laws to bring about an end to impunity".

The Livingstone Formula of the African Union (AU) has made it possible for civil society organizations to contribute to the efforts of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) to foster peaceful and stable societies and to protect civilians, especially women and children. Through its initiative launched at the end of 2009, the Panel of the Wise of the African Union is determined to reaffirm its commitment to contribute to efforts to alleviate the plight of women and children in armed conflicts.

The women also thanked to FAS, UN Women, Oxfam (GB), Urgent Action Fund-Africa, and Isis-WICCE, "who made great efforts to ensure that we came to this session.  Without them, we would not have been able to come.  Unfortunately, their efforts are often hampered by the lack of resources. If our governments took more interest in our issues, this would go a long way towards addressing our plight".