1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa

Leaders urged to implement affirmative action for women

Women representatives from Africa's Great Lakes region have urged their heads of state and government to implement an affirmative-action policy to ensure that half of all members of decision-making bodies are women, as set out by the African Union (AU), at all decision-making levels. This was included in a 15-point declarations the representatives made on Saturday in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, at the end of a three-day women's regional meeting. The event was held as part of the preparatory process for the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, sponsored by the UN and the AU. In a statement made available to IRIN on Monday, the office of Ibrahima Fall, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes, said the women called on the region's leaders to apply a regional mechanism "with requisite resources to ensure women's equitable representation and effective participation in peace, governance and development processes at national and regional levels". Participants at the meeting were representatives of the "core" members of the international conference initiative: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. South Africa's attendance was as a "co-opted" member. They expressed their concern with the multidimensional conflicts in the Great Lakes region, which they said had resulted in untold suffering of communities, especially women and children, and caused loss of human lives. The women called for the enactment and enforcement of legislation that protects and upholds human rights and dignity of all females. They said leaders should take concrete measures to end the culture of impunity and enforce punitive action against perpetrators of crimes against humanity - particularly genocide, massacres, rape and other forms of gender-based violence. Among other declarations, the women also urged the region's heads of state and government to provide adequate resources for the effective implementation of all women and children's rights as well as peace and security instruments. The participants' discussions were based on regional views on the themes of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region. The themes are peace and security; democracy and good governance; economic development and regional integration; and humanitarian and social issues. Their recommendations will be presented to regional heads for endorsement when they meet in November for the first of two summits in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article

Get the day’s top headlines in your inbox every morning

Starting at just $5 a month, you can become a member of The New Humanitarian and receive our premium newsletter, DAWNS Digest.

DAWNS Digest has been the trusted essential morning read for global aid and foreign policy professionals for more than 10 years.

Government, media, global governance organisations, NGOs, academics, and more subscribe to DAWNS to receive the day’s top global headlines of news and analysis in their inboxes every weekday morning.

It’s the perfect way to start your day.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian today and you’ll automatically be subscribed to DAWNS Digest – free of charge.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.