Friday 25 November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. To mark this day I have asked Aminata Mansaray, Senior Officer for Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development at the African Union based in Juba, to write a guest blog:
The Republic of South Sudan has been in prolonged conflict with the Sudan resulting in the loss of many lives and suffering of its citizens. Women have been victims of the conflict and continue to be victims of ongoing inter and intra tribal clashes. Security is one of the greatest challenges confronting the Government. With the achievement of independence on 9th July 2011, security issues have assumed high priority in the agenda of the Government as they pose a risk to stability, post-conflict reconstruction and development.
The process of rebuilding lives after years of conflict, decades of underdevelopment and devastation of the region’s economic, political and social structures is dependent on the Government of the Republic of South Sudan maintaining sustained peace, security and leadership commitment to strengthen democratic governance. There are serious challenges posed by insecurity and abject poverty, which continue to affect a large majority of the population especially the women.
These challenges have resulted in the Government having limited capabilities required to adequately protect the citizens especially the women and deliver adequate services to them. The situation is most acute at the state and local government levels, where governance capacities are stretched thin on the ground. If the women are pulled from all the states to share their experiences and debate the issues of security and good governance their contributions will be authentic.
It is important to bring together women from the ten States and civil society who can participate and help to shape the central agenda for peace and security, with respect particularly to issues of security and human rights violations pertaining to women.
This will facilitate the participation of women in the National Debate on issues relating to constitutional reform and issues of peace and security at the State, National, and Continental levels. Finally it will empower the women of South Sudan to identify appropriate mechanisms to solve their problems.