Sudanese delegation advocates for peace

On 24th March, 2009, FAS had the privilege of welcoming five Sudanese delegates to attend events and do advocacy at the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. This was a follow up to the 2nd Sudanese Women's Forum on Darfur (SWOFOD) that took place from 5-7th January 2009.

Two panels, several advocacy meetings and a training were organised for the women to raise awareness about the latest situation in Sudan as it affected women and children, create new networks and seek international support for their peace agenda.

The four women were Ms. Rehab Al Fadhil (Khartoum), Ms. Zeinab Abdul Karim Nahar (North Darfur), Ms. Angela Achiro Onorio (South Sudan), Ms. Nawal Hassan Osman (West Darfur) and one man Dr. Mahmoud Braima (Diapora, USA).

The Sudanese delegates led a panel co-sponsored by FAS and World YWCA titled: Sudanese Women on Peace Agenda in Darfur- "A Step Forward on the Darfuri women's Road to Peace" at the Palais des Nations. They were joined by Mr Jibril Abdelbagi, Executive Director of the Save Darfur Coalition based in Geneva.

It was a very interesting and successful discussion with maximum contribution from the more than 30 members of the audience from different non-governmental and international organizations as well as government representatives like the Ambassador of Norway, Ms. Bente Angell-Hansen.

The Panel emphasized the importance of the need to discuss the way forward on the Darfuri's women road to peace. They said the common experience of war, violence and marginalization in Darfur were the main challenges for them in their struggle for peace.

"One of the main steps on the road to peace is the security issue. Civilians are victims of crimes, rape and sexual harassment and sometimes they are even killed. They cannot go on with their daily lives thus they are victims. We have to find a solution, to launch a program to development, reconstruction and to invite women to participate as authorities. We must avoid mistakes which have been made in the past," Ms. Nahar said.

A day earlier on March 23rd, FAS organised its first panel also co-sponsored with World YWCA titled: Eminent Women on UNSCR 1325: "Working towards the implementation of UNSCR 1325: outcomes of the International Colloquium on Women's empowerment, leadership development, peace and security."

The panellists were: Ms. Ndiaye Ndioro, Deputy Director General of IOM, Ms. Anja Ebnother, Assistant Director-Head Special Programmes - DCAF, Ms Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary World YWCA and Ms. Bineta Diop, Executive Director FAS. The panel analysed the key outcomes of the International Colloquium held in Monrovia, Liberia between 7 and 8 March, 2009. The women discussed one of the resolutions on the Call to Action: The Monrovia Declaration which was a unanimous appeal to the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for UNSCR 1325 in Africa.

Additionally, during this week, the Sudanese delegation met with our partners to update them on the outcomes of the SWOFOD and appeal for their support as they continued to fight for a place at the peace negotiating table and for peace in Sudan. The women met with representatives of the EU, AU, UK, Switzerland, the Norwegian and Finnish Ambassadors, the assistant to the Special Rapporteur on Sudan and Ms Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

To end the week, a training was held for the delegates, network, partners and staff on the Human Right Council - as a women's empowerment instrument, UNSCR 1325, CEDAW and the African Union- provisions for women's human rights protection. These are instruments that are very useful in the fight for engendering the peace process in Sudan and other conflict countries. This was on 28 March, 2009.


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