SADC wants women in peacekeeping

The workshop reviewed the effectiveness, currency, accuracy and user-friendliness of existing and newly developed training materials and practical tools on gender equality and gender mainstreaming in peace-keeping operations.

“The contemporary world is characterised by conflicts of a varied nature, although in Africa the conflict tends to be largely intra-state, more protracted and regional in dimension,” Colonel Karel Ndjoba of the Namibian Defence Force, the facilitator of the workshop, told the delegates at the opening of the workshop.

He said most affected in such conflicts are women, who are found along the continuum of combatants, female household heads as well as victims of gender-based violence.

Delegates noted that while it is still true that it is men who predominantly fight, gender lines during conflict are becoming blurred.

It was also established that recent conflicts in the world have revealed women as combatants fighting alongside men at the war fronts, sharing responsibilities.

Speaking at the workshop, Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Angelika Muharukua, said it was worth noting that the famous Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000 on women, Peace and Security had been adopted deciding Namibia’s precedence on security.

She said that global events of the past decade had dictated different approaches to the implementation of UN resolutions and, therefore, no peacekeeping mission had been a replica of the other.

Muharukua observed how the SADC personnel deployed in these missions had also faced a diversity of experiences.

She said the integrated training service of the UN department of peacekeeping operations had taken a leading role in ensuring that this important requirement of a standardised generic training module was achieved.

It was important to note, she said, that while both men and women play a pivotal role in peace building, there is need to critically examine the role of women in this endeavour because they have been previously under-represented and ignored in most peace processes.

She added that Namibia, as a product of the United Nations transition processes, valued the role played by UN Peacekeepers in bringing peace to parts of the world where conflict exists.

Equally, she said, the Government of Namibia is well aware of the importance of gender main streaming, hence the creation of a Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in its executive branches.

July 2006
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