The Gender Pre-Forum to the 2014 High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa
Kigali, 6 October 2014 – The inaugural Gender Pre-Forum to the Annual High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa under the theme “Silencing the Guns: Women in Democratization and Peace Building in Africa” has opened in Kigali, Rwanda. The forum was officially opened by Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion of the Republic of Rwanda on 6th October and will close on 7th October, 2014.
In her welcome remarks, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi noted the imperative of a more sustainable and meaningful response to violence through improvement of inclusive democratic governance systems on the Continent. She stated that the AU, through the Africa Governance Architecture is committed to working with the various AU organs, institutions, RECs and non state actors to strengthen platforms that allow women and young girls to play pivotal roles in strengthening democratic governance.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Governance Board, Prof. Shyaka Anastase in his own remarks stated that the partnership with the African Union Commission and other international development partners on the forum is intended to support various national, regional, continental and inter-continental efforts to empower women, such as Agenda 2063, African Common Position on Post 2015 Development Plan, Beijing Declaration, the Millennium Declaration, MDG three, and other UN resolutions.
The Special Guest of Honour, Hon. Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister for Gender and Family Promotion of the Republic of Rwanda while welcoming participants to Kigali argued that a continent at peace with itself requires more than absence of war but also a continent that embraces good governance values of respect for human rights, rule of law, transparency, effective, inclusive as well as accountable governance and citizen-centred development. She posited that with committed and visionary leadership as well as determined citizens, Rwanda has been able to rise from the ashes of the 1994 genocide to a beacon of reconciliation, hope and inclusive governance. She concluded that the issue of gender equality and women’s participation should be an integral part of our values as a continent and an obligation to empower men, women, girls and boys to a level they can play their rightful role in democratisation processes, peace building and development.
Participants at the Pre-Forum will be visiting Post Genocide Reconciliation Villages and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial as part of the experience sharing components of the pre-forum.
The gender pre-forum is convened under the auspices of the African Governance Architecture and Platform of the African Union. It is convened to provide a platform through which the vulnerabilities and challenges facing women in conflict situations can be examined and policy recommendations made on enhancing the roles of women in strengthening democratic governance and addressing violent conflicts in Africa.
The gender pre-forum is part of a series of participatory engagements with young people, women, civil society, Member States and indeed all stakeholders towards the Third High-Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. The theme of this year’s High Level Dialogue is “Silencing the Guns: Strengthening Democratic Governance to Prevent, Manage and Resolve Conflicts in Africa. It is scheduled for 30 – 31 October, 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. The High Level Dialogue and pre-consultations are convened by the African Union in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and GIZ.