Category Archives: Africa

Liberia: Feminist Voices for Peace

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

Articles from the Nobel Women’s Initiative and Peace People

From April 30 – May 3, emerging leaders from more than twenty countries came together in Monrovia, Liberia for Claiming Our Space: Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace—a groundbreaking summit co-hosted with Nobel peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. And — spoiler alert — it was awesome!


(Click on image to enlarge).

For a detailed recap of the event, read this blog post from one of the participating emerging leaders, Louise McGowan, who reflects on her experience in Liberia!

Just last week, the Nobel Women’s Initiative along with the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa brought 50 women from over 20 countries together in Monrovia, Liberia to discuss feminism, power, activism and peace. The title of the conference was “Claiming Our Space: Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace” and over three days of multigenerational talking, engaging and sharing, women from North, South, East and West learned from and inspired one another.
On day one of three, the five Nobel Peace Laureates present (Leymah Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi, Jody Wiliams, Rigoberta Menchú Tum and Tawakkol Karman) shared some of their experience and offered advice for young, ‘emerging’ feminist leaders. The overarching theme to kick off the convening was that we (women) are powerful and worthy; that we must claim our space, we must use our voice and we must not ask for permission to do so.

“No one will give you space, you have to claim it yourself.” Leymah Gbowee

Tawakkol raised the important issue of women’s roles in a post-conflict setting. “As you lead the revolution, as you lead the struggle against war, women should be there to fight corruption, to fight injustice and to fight for equality.” Our space is not temporary or negotiable.

“My message for young people is to go forward, raise your voice, say what you want to say and we laureates will support you.”  Shirin Ebadi

Through speeches, panel discussions and youth-led conversations, a number of important topics were broached over the course of the day such as: The Liberian Feminist Peace Movement; Conflict, Migration and the Diaspora; and Gun Violence and Militarisation. One might be forgiven, perhaps, for thinking that this was not the gentlest of introductions, however it should be noted that the group of women attending this conference are the embodiment of power and boldness. This is a group who will not and does not wish to shy away from difficult questions. This space provided an opportunity to explore “what is grounding us, inspiring us, what feminist leadership looks like now and what could it look like in the future?” Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland

As Rigoberta Munchú Tum stated, we must “give ideas to ignite passions of other people so that they can solve problems as well” and this day was about reminding ourselves of the importance of walking your talk (Leymah Gbowee). Many words uttered during these discussions were inspiring but more than that- feeling the strength emanating from the speakers was overwhelming. When Shroq Abdulqader Al-Qasemi spoke of turning pain into power, as a participant I felt the true value of this exchange in my soul.

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

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On the second day, the convening opened with eloquent spoken word from Neuteyshe Felizor and a mighty key note address from Shirin Ebadi. Following this, a panel tackled ‘decolonising feminist leadership’, unpacking cultural origins of both feminism and leadership in the process and arriving at the conclusion that power is in and of itself a colonial concept. Sometimes we have to look back to move forward. This fed directly into the subsequent youth-led discussions with two of our laureates, addressing Gender-based Violence with Leymah Gbowee and Conflict and Natural Land Resources with Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Both conversations highlighted the importance of alliance-building; tapping into different networks on a local and global scale. This emphasised to me the power of both the global feminist movement and of the individual embracing their strengths and using available resources.

After a well-earned break, the collective reconvened for breakout sessions with young feminists given space to reveal their experiences. Case studies from countries such as South Sudan, Cameroon, Colombia and Northern Ireland were discussed, and lessons learned shared. This afternoon offered an opportunity for comparison, empathy and understanding alongside ideas for strategising in a diverse range of settings. As the day drew to a close, the feeling in the (very well air-conditioned) room was that we were building important alliances in this moment.

The third day was one of joy. The plenary to start was on ‘caring for ourselves and the movement: is it even possible?’ and Felogene Anumo opened the day appropriately: “It’s said you can’t pour from an empty cup. How full are you?”.

The first session’s aim was to deepen our reflection and share knowledge of self and collective care, wellbeing and healing as critical components in our struggles for rights, justice and peace. We heard from Jody Williams and Rigoberta Menchú Tum on how they look after themselves and how they continue to do the work that they do. Jody mentioned how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by urgency and righteous indignation, however with time she has learned the value of granting herself personal time and space. By exposing their own humanity and vulnerability, these powerhouse women let the young people in the room know that it’s ok to not feel strong sometimes.

Rigoberta raised the issue of our own agency; that we manage our “own energy and strength” and that “none of us can survive on goodwill alone”. This struck a chord with many of the feminists in the room who have at times felt the weight of external expectations as well as self-inflicted pressure. We were reminded that we have control over some of our pressures. Yah Parwon also spoke of finding ‘what is relevant’, leading us to think about what serves the individual; yoga might not work for everyone.

After starting the engine with the introductory panel, we shifted into gear with interactive sessions. These offered insight into Reimagining Women, Power and Movement-building; Radical Self-Care; and Intergenerational Trauma. The latter involved a moving exercise for understanding intergenerational trauma in a tangible way. All participants felt the physical weight of previous generation’s experience and hardship. The group discussed practices and rituals for addressing and letting go of trauma as well as welcoming knowledge, heritage and positive energy into our daily lives.

The Final plenary entitled ‘What’s the point of the Revolution if We Can’t Dance’ was a joyful and poignant close to our conference. Aptly, the session began with actual dancing and laughter. The panelists shared ways to centre happiness and pleasure in our movements. A crucial part of ‘claiming our space’ is finding ways to enjoy our space. With little detail spared, this open and honest discussion reaffirmed why each person exists and why each participant was present. Acknowledging that pursuing peace can be painful and hard, Leymah stated: “A brand-new sponge absorbs water and all the dirt that comes with it. We are the sponges and we need to find space to squeeze out.”

In the spirit of self-reflection, learning and solidarity participants were invited to make a commitment to themselves in relation to their own feminist leadership, to multigenerational organising and/or building communities of care. The conference was closed with intentions set and mood high. I for one felt more ‘full’ than I had when it had opened.

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Film from South Africa: Everything Must Fall

.. . EDUCATION  FOR PEACE .. .

Film publicity for Everything Must Fall

A Feature length film : 84 min – TV hour – 48 & 58 min directed by Rehad Desai


An unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement that burst onto the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education.


film trailer

Short Synopsis

The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist. When Habib’s efforts to contain the protest fail, he brings 1000 police on to campus. There are dire consequences for the young leaders. By blending dramatic unfolding action with a multi-protagonist narrative, much of the drama lies in the internal struggles the activists have around the weight of leadership. Threaded through the film is a pulse of anticipation, shared across the generational divide, that somehow these youth have reached breaking point and won’t back down until they achieve the kind of social transformation that previous generations had long given up on.

Question(s) related to this article:

What are some good films and videos that promote a culture of peace?

Long Synopsis


An unflinching look at the #FeesMustFall student movement that burst onto the South African political landscape in 2015 as a protest over the cost of education, and morphed into the most militant national revolt since the country’s first democratic elections in 1994. The story is told by four student leaders at Wits University and their Vice Chancellor, Adam Habib, a left-wing, former anti-apartheid student activist. When Habib’s efforts to contain the protest fail, he brings 1000 police on to campus. There are dire consequences for the young leaders: Mcebo Dlamini is arrested and charged with serious offences, Shaeera Kalla is shot 13 times with rubber-coated bullets; others, fearing the involvement of the state security agencies, are forced into hiding.

At the heart of the film sits an intergenerational conflict connecting us to an important contemporary discourse on the conceptualisation of higher education as a public good. To date there have been unprecedented numbers involved, three deaths and 800 arrests. By blending dramatic unfolding action with a multi-protagonist narrative, much of the drama lies in the internal struggles the activists have around the weight of leadership. Threaded through the film is a pulse of anticipation, shared across the generational divide, that somehow these youth have reached breaking point and won’t back down until they achieve the kind of social transformation that previous generations had long given up on.

Contact information

UHURU PRODUCTIONS PTY LTD
6th Floor, SAMRO House
20 De Korte Street
Braamfontein
2001
011 339 1063
ziviaATmweb.co.za

Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia laureate of the 2019 edition of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny – UNESCO Peace Prize

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from UNESCO

Abiy Ahmed Ali, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is named as laureate of the 2019 edition of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize for his actions in the region and, in particular, for having been the instigator of a peace agreement between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The jury also recognizes the laureate’s worthiness for the reforms undertaken to consolidate democracy and social cohesion. Finally, the jury considers this distinction as an encouragement to pursue his commitment to the promotion of a culture of peace in the region and across the African continent.

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(Click here for a Spanish version of the article or here for a version in French.)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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The Jury met on 29 April at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to designate the laureate of the 2019 edition of the prize, which will mark the 30th anniversary of its inception.

The jury was composed of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate (2011), Mr François Hollande, Former President of France, Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan – UNESCO Special Envoy for science for peace, Mr Michel Camdessus (France) – Former Director General of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Professor Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh), founder of Grameen Bank – Nobel Peace Laureate (2006) and Mr. Forest Whitaker (United States of America), founder of the Peace and Development Initiative.

In 1989, in order to pay tribute to President Félix Houphouet-Boigny’s action for peace in the world, 120 countries sponsored a resolution unanimously adopted by UNESCO’s Member States to establish the  Félix Houphouët-Boigny Prize – UNESCO Peace Prize. The Prize is intended to honor living individuals and active public or private institutions or bodies that have made a significant contribution to promoting, seeking, safeguarding or maintaining peace in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Constitution of UNESCO.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on an official visit to Ethiopia on 2 and 3 May on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, will meet with the Prime Minister and convey her warm congratulations.

Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace  Gabon : The work begins

. . FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION . .

An article from Gabon Review

Weeks after its election and the official presentation of the new officers to the Resident Representative of Unesco, the National Co-ordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP Gabon) unveiled its roadmap. The different actions to be carried out over the next two years are listed there.


Photo © PAYNCoP Gabon

Chaired by Vincenzo Fazzino, Resident Representative of Unesco, a meeting was held on April 24 in Libreville between the new PAYNCoP Gabon team and the UN system leaders in the country. Its purpose was to present the latter with the recent road map developed by the pan-African organization coordinated by Jerry Bibang, in order to “gather the opinions and orientations” of the various actors in the field. For PAYNCoP Gabon, it was also a question of reinforcing the partnership with the UN system in Gabon and to allow a better collaboration, especially in the promotion of the culture of peace and non-violence.

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( Click here for the French original..)

 

Question related to this article.

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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According to the national coordination of PAYNCop Gabon, the roadmap presented to the heads of the United Nations system is an “action plan [which] provides for four strategic axes, including the popularization of PAYNCoP, the promotion of a culture of peace, the appropriation of Resolution 2250 (youth, peace and security) and the transformation of PAYNCoP into a social enterprise “.

“Recognizing that the promotion of the culture of peace is also about the fight against unemployment and the economic empowerment of young people, our fourth axis has the specific objectives of training young people in social entrepreneurship and the implementation of projects. community development. Also, we are planning the creation of income generating activities to effectively encourage the financial independence of young people, “says the organization.

For the implementation of this roadmap, the National Coordinator of PAYNCoP Gabon has called for the intervention of professionals from various sectors of activity, such as education, higher education, communication, communication and communication. culture and politics. “Everyone has a role to play in this challenge,” said Jerry Bibang, not without remembering that the roadmap presented by the office in his charge “is part of the logical continuation of the work started by [its ] predecessors “. This, says the organization, “covers a period of two years (2019-2021) and takes into account the key issues of youth in peace and security at the national level.”

For PAYNCoP Gabon, “peace is not limited to the absence of war [but] involves other things as well, including social justice, respect for human rights, democracy, fight against poverty, etc.”

Churches in South Sudan promote “three pillars of peace”

. . TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) representative Bishop Isaiah Majok Dau spoke about how churches are spearheading dialogue in his country through what the Pentecostal Church leader describes as the “three pillars of peace”.   


Bishop Isaiah Majok Dau, presiding bishop of the Sudan Pentecostal Church. Photo: LWF/A. Danielsson

Changing the narrative of violence

Advocacy, Bishop Dau said, is “the first pillar of peace” in his country, with the goal of “changing the narrative of violence” among communities, families and political leaders. That advocacy work includes the vital task of engaging on social media with South Sudanese living outside the country, many of whom use hate speech to promote their political ideas.

The second pillar of peace, Dau continued, is providing “a neutral forum” where opposition leaders, or others who cannot come to the capital Juba for security reasons, have an opportunity to speak and share their concerns. The church serves as “a bridge between them, wherever there is contention between the government and other communities,” he said, explaining how opposition leader Riek Machar was able to communicate through this forum with the government when he was in exiled in South Africa. The bishop said he recently held talks with opposition leaders in Juba and had just returned from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he met with opposition politician, Thomas Cirrillo in order to press for dialogue and reconciliation.

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Question for this article

Religion: a barrier or a way to peace?, What makes it one or the other?

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

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The third pillar, Dau said, “is called peace and reconciliation” promoting forgiveness among communities in South Sudan that have been fragmented by conflict. These concepts are not included in the peace agreement, he said, so “we, as a church, want to be a bridge to reconcile communities, to speak to hearts and to renew their faith in each other in dialogue.”  

Learning “to talk, rather than take up guns”

The goal, he added, is “to create a culture of peace” so that people learn “to talk, rather than take up guns” and their disagreements over borders, land rights or cattle rustling are not resolved by resorting to violence. The framework that the SSCC has developed includes tools for trauma healing, economic empowerment and a correct use of resources, making it an invaluable asset for reaching out to the wider non-Christian community.

Questioned about how to make these tools available to remote grassroots communities, Dau said the church is present throughout the country and is “the only institution which can go where the government can’t go.” Even in “very rural areas like Jonglei State between the Murle and the Dinka” or between the “Turkana and the Karamojong in Uganda, we are the ones working through the grass roots on reconciliation,” he stressed.
“We base our message on hope,” the bishop concluded, telling people “the best is yet to come for South Sudan [so] don’t give up, because one day we will live in peace.” Quoting Jesus’ own message of peace from the New Testament, he said: “The gospel of hope is our biblical message and it comes out in all three pillars of peace.”

The Lutheran communion’s work among South Sudanese goes back to the 1980s. The LWF currently assists over 300,000 people inside the country and hundreds of thousands more who have sought refuge in neighboring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Capacity building in human rights and advocacy both at the local and international levels targets both government institutions and civil society organizations.

Bishop Isaiah Majok  Dau was one of the panelists at a side event organized by the LWF during the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Emerging Feminist Leaders Are Claiming Their Space: Follow Us to Liberia!

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from the Nobel Womens Initiative

Emerging feminist leaders from more than twenty countries are coming together in Monrovia, Liberia for Claiming Our Space: Emerging Feminist Voices for Peace—a groundbreaking summit co-hosted by Nobel peace laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and the .

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Question for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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These inspiring activists are leading communities to build peace and break gender barriers. Whether in the news, online, or in the streets, these young peacebuilders are making sure that their voices are heard!

And we know that the greater the voices, the louder the cry. These young women will strategize alongside five trailblazing Nobel peace laureates – Leymah Gbowee, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman and Rigoberta Menchú Tum – to build a global multi-generational feminist peace movement. Phew! No big deal. Because #HerPlace is at the head of the peace table.

Follow us on this exciting journey from April 30 – May 3, and hear first-hand from our amazing participants about their experiences on the ground. We can’t wait to introduce you to these bold young women!

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Meet the Trailblazing Maasai Women Protecting Amboseli’s Wildlife

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article by Erin Powell from International Fund for Animal Welfare

Surrounding Kenya’s Amboseli National Park lies nearly 150,000 acres of community lands shared by both people and wildlife. The Olgulului-Ololarashi Group Ranch (OOGR) is within the country’s richest area of biodiversity, making it particularly vulnerable to threats including poaching, human-wildlife conflict, and wildlife trafficking.

Now, a team of eight young Maasai women is at the forefront of championing the protection and safety of the region’s wildlife, while simultaneously helping to bridge the gender gap in conservation. Around the world, women are often less involved than men in the conservation and management of protected areas.

Team Lioness is one of Kenya’s first all-female ranger units. They join the Olgulului Community Wildlife Rangers (OCWR) who protect wildlife across six bases and one mobile unit in OOGR through IFAW’s tenBoma, an innovative wildlife security initiative.

“In the larger Amboseli region, out of almost 300 wildlife rangers, to my knowledge there was only one woman,” says Lt. Col. Faye Cuevas, IFAW Senior Vice President. “The need was apparent.”

Assessed through an intensive leadership and peer-review process by a panel of tenBoma representatives and the OCWR Director of Security, the women of team Lioness were selected based on their academic achievements and physical strength, as well as their demonstration of trustworthiness, discipline, and integrity.

“As the first women joining the OCWR Rangers, each of the team Lioness recruits brings a new perspective and a different experience with wildlife than her male counterparts,” says Cuevas. “They are important voices in protecting wildlife and reconnecting communities to the benefits of sharing land with the magnificent big cats and other wildlife that call OOGR home.”

The recruits range in age from 19 to 26 years old, and all are the first women in the history of their families to secure employment. For many, the opportunity to join team Lioness has been life-changing — on average, Maasai girls typically leave school around the age of 10. Even among Maasai women who achieve a higher education, many lack opportunities to seek jobs or financial independence.

“It’s very rare that Maasai women achieve a secondary education,” says Cuevas. “But all of team Lioness have the equivalent of a US high school education, and none of them have had a paying job before this. It’s breaking barriers.”

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Questions for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

Indigenous peoples, Are they the true guardians of nature?

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Positioned on the Kenya-Tanzania border, OOGR is an expansive area of traditional Maasai community lands and it almost completely encompasses Amboseli National Park. Within Amboseli’s ecosystem, OOGR alone is home to 90% of habitats and corridors for migratory wildlife, including the park’s 2,000 elephants. Forming a horseshoe around Amboseli, it is an essential passage for elephant migration — every elephant that leaves the national park travels through this area, whether on a southern or northern migration route.

“Because we’re conserving our environment, animals are here,” says Loise, a team Lioness ranger. “Through wild animals, there is foreign exchange. As a ranger, now I know I have to teach other women about it. I would like to help others in our community and be a good example. I’m working and happy about that.”

Other wildlife such as giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, baboons, zebra, buffalo, and vervet monkeys also call OOGR and Amboseli home. Due to Amboseli’s proximity to a porous border with Tanzania, coupled with the scale of threats like poaching, retaliatory killings, and the trafficking of wildlife and animal parts, all wildlife in this area is in potential danger. Team Lioness and the OCWR Rangers form the first line of defense for protecting and securing wildlife in these vast community lands.

“We’re encouraging the community to take care of the animals, because in our community if a lion gets in a boma or in our village, [the community] gets it out of the village and they go to kill it. So we’re encouraging them [to see the] importance of animals and to understand,” says Sharon of team Lioness.

Team Lioness will undergo initial training with the OCWR Rangers, followed by a 21-day basic ranger training course that integrates them into the six bases throughout OOGR. In addition to supporting wildlife security operations throughout the region, a large part of team Lioness’ mission will be engaging with Maasai women and maintaining community buy-in for conservation through school visits and fostering community involvement.

“For me, to be a part of team Lioness, it shows that women have an opportunity,” says Purity, a team Lioness ranger. “I’m gaining skills and knowledge on how to conserve and protect wild animals. I will go back to my community and tell them the importance [of conservation] and show them through my experience. You kill that lion, you kill your future.”

The presence of team Lioness has created a demand in some Maasai communities for more female leadership in conservation initiatives and calls for additional female rangers.

“News of team Lioness is really catching on in the Maasai community,” Cuevas says. “A Maasai woman elder from outside OOGR attended one of the recent community meetings and said, ‘I challenge us as a Maasai people that for every four rangers we hire, one of them is a woman.’ It’s really incredible. Getting the word out means we can continue to leverage tenBoma to enable rangers to act predictively to prevent harm to both wildlife and the communities that share land in the expansive OOGR.”

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

Benin: The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy raises awareness of Atacora youth on non-violence

. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . . .

An article from Agence Benin Presse

The Youth Movement for the Preservation of Peace and Democracy has held an action “Its now or never” to raise the consciousness of the youth of Atacora for nonviolene and the culture of peace in the upcoming electoral period. It was held on Saturday [April 13] on the esplanade of the House TV5 Natitingou in the presence of the Atacora Prefect, Maguidi Kora Gbéré, Mayor Antoine N ‘da and the regional delegate mediator of the Republic of Atacora and Donga, Dieudonné Kiatti.

The day of peace included theatrical and artistic presentation, with the key word peace, speeches promoting non-violence and citizen and patriotic behavior, the release of two white doves, a symbol of peace and the lighting of “the flame of peace.

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(Click here for the original version of this article in French.)

Question related to this article:

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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The movement “It is now or never”, coordinated nationally by, Moutardine Tangaou, is necessary to maintain Benin on the path of democracy that it has follosed since February 1990. “We are fighting exclusively for peace, because there have been new events in our country that have caused us a fear of inheriting an unmanageable country,” said the national coordinator. He urged politicians to open avenues of dialogue, and he said he was proud to see several other organizations following suit by preaching peace.

“In Benin we have no enemies even less adversaries, we are just people with different opinions, a difference that is the richness of Beninese culture,” said the regional delegate of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Atacora and Donga, Dieudonné Kiatti. In the name of the mediator of the republic, he urged the youth to cultivate everyday acts, actions, attitudes and behaviors of peace.

Before lighting and raising the flame of peace to demonstrate their deep commitment to this cause, the Atacora Maguidi Prefect Kora Gbéré and the Mayor of Natitingou Antoine N’da, welcomed this initiative of the youth movement for the safeguard of peace and democracy. They also invited all the people of Benin and especially the youth of Atacora to engage in peace as the weapon of battle.

With a motto taken from the quote of Felix Houphouet Boigny “Peace is not an empty word but a behavior”, the movement “It’s now or never”, will cross all Benin with stops in some cities of the country.

South Africa Launches Plan to Combat Xenophobia and Racism

… . HUMAN RIGHTS … .

An article by Dewa Mavhinga, Director for Southern Africa in
Human Rights Watch

Today, South Africa launched its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination, marking an important step towards addressing the widespread human rights abuses arising from xenophobic and gender-based violence and discrimination that continue to plague South Africa.

The five-year plan, developed in a consultative process between the government and civil society, aims to raise public awareness about anti-racism and equality measures, improve access to justice and better protection for victims, and increase anti-discrimination efforts to help achieve greater equality and justice.

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Question(s) related to this article:

What is the state of human rights in the world today?

Are we making progress against racism?

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But the Action Plan fails to address a key challenge fueling the problem: South Africa’s lack of accountability for xenophobic crimes. Virtually no one has been convicted for past outbreaks of xenophobic violence, including the Durban violence of April 2015 that displaced thousands of foreign nationals, and the 2008 attacks on foreigners, which resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people across the country.

To effectively combat xenophobia, the government and police need to publicly acknowledge attacks on foreign nationals and their property as xenophobic and take decisive action. This should include ensuring proper police investigations of xenophobic crimes and holding those responsible to account.

Inflammatory public statements – such as those made by Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba in December 2016, blaming illegal immigrants for crimes and calling on them to leave the city – should be strongly condemned. As South Africa prepares for national elections on May 8, 2019, political leaders should not incite xenophobic violence or promote discrimination.

The National Action Plan is a welcome development indicating the South African government’s intent to fight xenophobia, racism, and all forms of discrimination and prejudice. Now it should fully implement that plan, and work to stem the dangerous tides of intolerance for good.

(Thank you to the Good News Agency for sending us this article.)

The women who helped bring down Sudan’s president

. . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

An article from Vox.com

Sudan’s military has overthrown the country’s longtime president, Omar al-Bashir. It’s a huge win for the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese protesters who have taken to the streets for months calling for his ouster — and for the brave women who have been a driving force in the protest movement.


Image by Lana Haroun
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Questions for this article

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

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Sudan’s Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced Thursday  that al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region, had been taken into military custody. While it’s unclear if the military plans to turn al-Bashir over to the ICC for prosecution, it’s pretty clear that his brutal 30-year reign has come to a definitive end.

Much of the credit for al-Bashir’s removal goes to the women who have played a prominent role  in the uprising that has swept the country and who have become the faces of the largely peaceful movement to topple the regime.

Earlier this week, an iconic photo of a woman named Alaa Salah, a 22-year-old engineering and architecture student, addressing protesters from atop a car went viral.

The image, captured by local photographer Lana Haroun, shows Salah standing on a white car surrounded by a sea of people outside the presidential compound and army headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital. Wrapped in layers of shimmery white fabric styled as a “toub” — a traditional Sudanese style of dress for women — and gold moon earrings, Salah towers over the crowd of protesters, her finger raised defiantly in the air.