African women are calling on the African Union, IGAD and the international community to set up a female peacekeeping force to promote peace in the Horn of Africa. The appeal issued on December 14 is signed, among others by Julia Cassell, the former Minister of Gender from Liberia. It urges African leaders to create the conditions for peace on the ground.
Cassell is joined by nearly 120 women –including entrepreneurs, teachers, humanitarian aid workers, scholars, civil servants, mothers and community workers, and health workers and from 20 countries across the African continent: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Benin, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, DRCongo, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
War broke out on November 4 in the Northern region of Ethiopia involving Eritrea and the Federal Ethiopian troops in a military conflict that risks spilling over to Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya. The President of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, appointed three special envoys to mediate in the conflict. Unfortunately, the envoys have not been able to meet with the parties involved and no mediation has happened.
“In Liberia, we know the pain women suffer from military conflict. Our sons, husbands and fathers were forced to join the fighting. Not knowing whether they are dead or alive, there is obviously only one way forward: fighting must stop,” states Cassell.” Let us recall that a female peace-keeping force in Liberia helped end the fighting and for women and their families to return to a peaceful life. We found that female peacekeepers on the ground were very effective.”
The African Women’s appeal urges African leaders and the international
community to act to protect civilians, refugees and Internally Displaced
A female peacekeeping mission for the Horn of Africa will ensure that a
humanitarian corridor is established, food gets in and peace can be restored so that mediation can begin. Women need to come forward as role models. Hate-speech and ethnic profiling need to end. It is time for women to take the lead.
Female peacekeepers from Ghana, Nigeria, SouthAfrica, Burundi, Niger and other African countries have proved to be role models. In 2016, the all-female Formed Police Unit from India has commended for their excellent contributions to the success of the mission in Liberia as it was completed.