Ethiopia: AU Commission chief calls for end to dehumanizing treatment of women

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – The African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has called for an end to the mistreatment of women caught up in conflict in Somalia, South Sudan and the Lake Chad Basin through the acceleration of the continental efforts to silence the guns by 2020.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of a two-day High-Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Chairperson said women lived in dehumanizing conditions and underwent suffering in refugee camps and camps for the internally displaced persons, an unacceptable situation.

“I visited women in refugee camps outside Juba, South Sudan, less than 14 days after taking over my position as the Chairperson of the Commission. I saw women in distress. There were women in isolation because they were suffering from cholera. They were tearless. What I saw in their eyes was beyond sadness. When people have reached a situation where they cannot cry, it means their suffering has reached beyond the limit. This must not continue,” the Chairperson told the Gender Summit.

The AU Commission President addressed the ministers in charge of gender on the sidelines of an AU Summit, which is dedicated to the search for solutions to the crises facing women and the youth, who are mostly unable to access essential services, access to affordable healthcare and jobs.

The African leaders attending the 3-4 July, 2017 Summit are expected to deliberate on proposals presented by the AU, to deal with the challenges which mostly affect the women and the youth.

Mahamat said he has visited women living in war zones in places such as Lake Chad region, which is also his home village, saying the poor state in which they were forced to live justified extra-measures to silence the guns, a major vision driven by the AU Commission, to restore peace and stability.

African leaders readily agree the presence of conflict has made it impossible for millions of women and the youth to participate gainfully in the field of agriculture, even in countries with fertile land.

“Our wish is to work methodically by avoiding the red-tape in order to deliver on our mission. We have the technologies which if put to good use could help us to deliver,” Mahamat said.

The AU Commission President said “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend” was pertinent to the achievement of the AU missions and objectives.

In order to effectively harness the benefits of a youthful population in Africa, the AU considers critical, eliminating harmful traditional practices such as early marriages, the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other traditional practices which rob young women of their innocence and economic productivity.

Mahamat said as part of efforts to end the harmful traditional practices, the AU was pleased that most countries had taken steps to ban early marriages.

According to studies carried out by the World Bank, one in every three women around the world marries before the age of 18 years, which denies them their productivity, access to education and affects their economic well-being, said Letty Chiwara, the UN Women Representative to Ethiopia.

In 2015, the AU launched a campaign to end the early marriages. Since then, campaigns have been launched in 22 countries, involving various groups in an effort to stem the practice.
-0- PANA AO/MA 1July 2017

01 juillet 2017 11:19:16

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