Over 80 women from Misseriya and Ngok Dinka tribes gathered in Todach village north of Abyei town on 14 February 2017 for the Open Day for Women, Peace and Security.
The occasion was in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), a landmark international legal framework that addresses not only the impact of war on women but also the pivotal role women in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace.
United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) Acting Head of Mission (HoM) and Deputy Force Commander (DFC) Brig Gen Zewdu Gebrekidan stated that the women play a pivotal role in peace and security. “There is overwhelming evidence that women’s empowerment and gender equality are associated with peace and stability in society. In particular, when women influence decisions about war and peace and take the lead against the war in their communities, it is more likely crises will be resolved without recourse to violence.”
The Women, Peace and Security agenda is anchored on the principle that effective incorporation of gender perspectives and women’s rights can have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of women, men, girls, and boys holistically.
“It’s interlinked and mutually reinforcing aspects of protection, prevention and participation are critical in respecting human rights and dignity and in tackling the root causes of conflict to create sustainable peace,” said UNISFA’s OIC Principal Officer Daniel Adekera.
The occasion which marked the first gathering of women from both communities was witnessed by both communities’ paramount chiefs and representatives, as well as senior UNISFA personnel.
The Acting HoM and DFC explained that peace and security are essential for economic growth, development and the empowerment of women; and women need to play an equal part in securing and maintaining peace. “No one single nation should stand up and proclaim to be a peaceable nation when its women are not fully recognized as equals to the men in that society, when women’s opinions and needs are disregarded, and when the women’s voices are not heard.”
Through speeches, poems and songs, women from Misseriya and Ngok Dinka communities shared their views on how to support the peace building efforts in Abyei that will eventually lead to the development of the region. They cited the importance of women’s role in ensuring that family members resist war and should refuse to send children to any activities that would lead to conflict and insecurity. They also emphasized that education should be available to children to stop them from joining any subversive activities.