Tanzania: Africa marks International Peace Day

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - All citizens of the African Union (AU) member states should rally to the core of “Silencing the Guns” campaign in Africa by 2020, AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on Wednesday in her message marking International Peace Day.

"As long as the gunfire continues to disrupt the tranquility of our blossoming societies and haunt the safety and security of our citizens, particularly of our women and girls, we will not achieve these noble aspirations for our people," she said, recalling that it was with this in mind that the African Union declared 2016 Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the Rights of Women.

Dlamini Zuma reiterated the AU's zero tolerance for sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation, lamenting that it was disheartening that in 2016, "I continue to receive reports of incidences of sexual violence meted out against women and girls as a weapon of war, most recently from South Sudan, Central African Republic, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo."

As Africa joined the rest of the world in marking the Peace Day, the AU chief executive underlined in her message, "sexual and gender-based violence has no place in our world: we must fight them relentlessly."

This year’s theme for Peace Day is: “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

On this theme, Damini Zuma stated that, indeed, many AU Member States and their leaders are increasingly taking ownership of the SDGs, but more importantly of Agenda 2063 -- Africa’s blueprint for economic growth and social transformation.

In the same message, the AUC chief acknowledged efforts by Member States to minimize violence during elections.

"We continue to encourage political leaders and their supporters to use legal and peaceful means to address elections-related disputes. It is through these methods that we entrench and deepen our culture of democracy and peace on the continent," she said.

She noted that the AU Commission was pleased with the establishment of the Mediation Support Unit, which wold provide logistical and technical support in the organisation's mediation initiatives led by its special envoys.

"We will continue to enhance our initiatives in structural conflict prevention as well as increasing our post-conflict reconstruction and development programmes in countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic and Somalia," Dlamini Zuma pledged.

In addition, the AUC has commended the decision by Heads of State and Government to establish the Peace Fund, as well as to support 25% of peace operation funding on the continent.

"This will provide predictable and sustainable funds to drive our goal of silencing the guns by 2020," Dlamini Zuma noted, appealing to Member States to let the Peace Day be their symbolic renewed commitment to peace, security and development in the world.
-0- PANA AR/MA 21Sept2016

21 september 2016 11:02:50

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