General News Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Women must be involved in politics, economic development - UNDP envoy

Accra, Feb. 25, GNA - A two-day conference of African Women Lawyers Association has ended in Kampala, Uganda, with a call for their involvement in politics for sustained peace.

They should also be empowered economically to fight against poverty, Mr Dauda Tore, UNDP Resident representative of Uganda, said. "It is my personal conviction that without the involvement of women in politics, there will be no sustained peace on the continent.

"Similarly, without economic empowerment of women, Africa will not win its fight against poverty." The Conference, under the theme "Engendering the peace process," was attended by delegates from 25 countries, including Ghana. It was held from February nine to 11.

The Conference was an outcome of the 29th biennial meeting of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998. A statement issued in Accra by Mrs S. Chinery-Hesse, Publicity Secretary, African Women Lawyers Association, said it was recognised at the Nairobi meeting that throughout the world, especially in Africa with its high incidence of armed conflict, women and children bear the burden of war and are increasingly being used as shields.


"Despite this, women lawyers have been absent from conflict resolution and peace negotiations." Accordingly, the need for women's rights organisations to bring an engendered perspective to the dialogue was highlighted.

In her remarks, the Ugandan First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni urged African women to forgive all African men for the horrors of domestic violence. They should also "forgive their communities and the law makers and perpetrators of discriminatory social systems which denied you your humanity." In her country report, Ms Gloria Ofori-Boadu, Administrator of FIDA Ghana, said they have continued to provide alternative dispute resolution services at their legal aid centre.

FIDA Ghana, she added, has also held a series of workshops and seminars to promote awareness of domestic violence. She specifically mentioned the spate of murders of women in parts of Accra over the past 18 months.


Source: GNA