Accra, Oct. 25 (GNA) – Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has given the assurance that government will in the near future ensure a fair representation of women at the National Peace Council.
« I have heard about the unfortunate very low representation of women on our Peace Council in Ghana, and we commit to ensuring that the lapses are addressed, » she stated.
Nana Oye Lithur gave the assurance in a response to a complaint by participants at the closing ceremony of the just ended ECOWAS/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) conference on the annual experience sharing to mark United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325.
The conference was on the theme « 15 years of the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 in West Africa: Looking back and Looking forward ».
It was organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), in collaboration with the ECOWAS to provide the platform for participants to highlight the successes and best practices, and the lessons learnt in implementing national adaptation plans for the UNSCR 1325 in West Africa.
The two-day conference, which brought together 55 participants from member states of ECOWAS, also seeks to examine the challenges and the way forward, having in view the emerging peace and security threats in the region.
Nana Oye Lithur described the conference as very timely because in some few weeks time, there would be a global discourse on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325.
« This sub-regional conference is timely and it is relevant because by then we have our foot firmly in the door of the global discourse where we will have a report on the West Africa sub-region story on the extent to which we have implemented UNSCR 1325.
« It is timely because of our political context in the West Africa sub-region. Conflict have reduced, some have emerged; in fact we also have Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries.
« We have some that have emerged from conflicts, and are reconstructing or have reconstructed, that is Liberia and Sierra Leone, » she said.
« But then we saw what happened last year with the Ebola scourge and that tells us that we can never rest on our oars. We have peaceful elections in terms of our political context and Nigeria is one clear example and shamed most of the people who thought that there will be an explosion, » she added.
The Minister said: « As a sub-region we have re-embraced multi-party democracy and also we have our constitutions as our legal framework and as our political documents. »
She noted that, « obviously UNSRC 1325 had made sure that the sub-region had certain successes, and chartered the path for effective integration of gender concerns in peacebuilding and also in conflict resolution and implementation has also worked in some instances and had not worked in other instances. »
« I wish that we have regular, if possible annual engagements as we are having now, but I know that there are resource constraints in that respect.
« But this engagement and this experience sharing has afforded us an opportunity to track progress and to monitor and also share and hear best practices as well as some of the initiatives that have failed, » she said.
She said: « We have identified as a sub-region five priority areas: prevention, protection, prosecution, critically monitoring and evaluation and documenting our experiences. »
Nana Oye Lithur said access to justice was very important; declaring that « there is no peace, when there is no justice. »
She noted that early warning system was critical in conflict prevention.
She said Africa generally had made some gains; which may not be directly linked to UNSRC 1325 but in terms of gender justice and addressing some of the crimes against humanity and some of the atrocities of war.
« I will just speak specifically to the remarkable judgements in the International Tribunal for Rwanda and also the Sierra Leonean Court where for the very first time in the history we had some classic judgment on rape and we had prosecution and conviction of persons who were engaged in the Rwanda genocide and committed acts of rape.
« We also have the same in Sierra Leone and subsequently we seen that the Rome status reflects this and rape is firmly entrenched.
« This is where we want to go in West Africa, in terms of fairly entrenching and ensuring that we address some of the atrocities as it relates to women and children, » she said.
She said women and children were vulnerable when it comes to conflict.
« Moving ahead, apart from implementing and addressing UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions, we need to look at the fundamentals of gender inequality, culture, tradition and gender based violence on daily basis, » she said.
The Minister observed that Ghana is committed to implementing UNSCR 1325 and addressing women issues, she however, appealed for support from development partners and the international community.
Mr Chukwuemeka B. Eze, the Executive Director, WANEP, said experience throughout the world had shown that excluding women in all aspects of life; be it political, economic or social, makes sustainable peace and development a mirage.
He said the UNSCR 1325 addresses not only the inordinate impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should play in conflict transformation, prevention and sustainable peace.
« There is no doubt that UNSCR 1325 has brought women and their roles the needed political and media attention.
« It is obvious that there can be no security where women are exposed to violence and no peace where they are ignored, » he stated.
He lauded ECOWAS and the Ghana Government for sponsoring the conference.
Dr Sintiki Ugbe, Director of Gender, Youth, Sport, CSO, Employment, Drug Control at the ECOWAS Commission, called for resource mobilization towards the full implementation UNSCR 1325 in the sub-region.