More than fifty women and men from Sudan and across Africa met on 24 and 25 January at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss new directions for the Darfur Peace Process. The result of the two day consultation was the African Women Declaration on Darfur and a Darfur Plan of Action for Peace.
The programme began with an overview of the current human rights situation of women in the Darfur region of Sudan. Participants then worked in small groups to narrow down concerns and make suggestions for action. Discussions carried over into coffee breaks, lunch and dinner, as women and their supporters worked hard to identify the best of course of action to help improve the conditions of women in the Darfur conflict and to ensure that women are properly represented in the peace process.
The African Women’s Consultation on Darfur was designed following the September 2007 fact-finding mission to eastern Chad led by Mary Robinson. The Executive Director for Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS), Bineta Diop, participated in this mission and together with the other women engaged in a strong advocacy campaign on the suffering and impact the conflict has had on the population, particularly on women and children.
Journalists and participants at press conference (Photo: FAS)
Following requests made by women’s organizations, and key actors in Sudan, FAS designed a programme to lay the foundations for the engendering of the peace process in Darfur. The African Women’s Consultation on Darfur is part of this project.
The overall goal of the Consultation is to develop a Darfuri Women Plan of Action for Peace. This common plan will be a useful instrument for the advocacy activities that will follow at the African Union Summit, the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women, the United Nations Human Rights Council, and at the United Nations Security Council. Awareness-raising activities about the situation of women in Darfur, and about the Consultation, are an important factor in the success of the overall programme. In organising the Consultation, FAS will help African women take ownership of the situation in Darfur and look for ways and means to redress it.