By Halima Sheji
The African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) on Monday underscored the need to address brutality and conflict-related violence against the continent’s women and girls.
Dr Mairo Al-Makura, Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on African First Ladies Peace Mission, emphasised the need to do so at a news conference in Abuja to mark International Women’s Day.
Al-Makura said that though women had always been instrumental to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the continent, they had always been victim of violence in the society.
“The African First Ladies Peace Mission celebrates African women and will continuously play a crucial role in furthering peace on the continent.
“We must not lose sight that gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to the continent’s progress on peace, security, and rights.
“We recommit ourselves to advocate for the right to peace and protection for all women and girls across Africa,” she said.
She said the mission had celebrated many achievements of women in Africa and across the globe.
According to her, the African First Ladies Peace Mission is inspired by the effective leadership that women have demonstrated during the current Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“Women have brilliantly stepped-up to this challenging period with strength and courage while adjusting to rapidly unfolding circumstances.
“In doing so, they have reminded the world of the importance of women’s presence in leadership positions.
“Although we have seen tremendous progress on women’s rights and leadership over the past few years, the pandemic is threatening to reverse the gains that have been made,” she said.
She added that the pandemic had disproportionally impacted women in many areas, particularly gender-based violence.
“While the world implemented lockdown measures introduced to curb the pandemic, there has been a spike in reported domestic violence and conflict-related violence again women and girls.
“To ensure that COVID-19 response and recovery acknowledge their realities, women need to have a seat at the decision-making table,” she said.
The African First Ladies Peace Mission was inspired by the UN World’s Women Conference 1995, popularly known as the Beijing Conference.
It was set up to be an umbrella body of wives of African Heads of State/Presidents and Government to play a supportive role to the African Union (AU), regional organisations, and national governments in fostering peace and reducing conflicts and their effects on the African continent.