Peacemakers Trust posts news, reports or announcements of interest to people studying or working in the field of dispute resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Inclusion of an item on the media watch blog does not imply endorsement or agreement of Peacemakers Trust with views expressed by authors of posted items.
... security, peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, require the active participation of women in all spheres of the economy
By Sheriff Janko
The vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs says that more than a third of the global female workforce is engaged in agriculture. Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy made the statement Friday while delivering her annual message in commemoration of the International Rural Women’s Day Celebration.
Celebrated every year on October 15th, this year’s theme is ‘Women and farm land for food security’. The day was set aside specifically to honour rural women. The idea was put forward at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and the day was selected, as it is the eve of the World Food Day, to highlight rural women’s role in food production and food security.
VP Njie-Saidy said: “Globally, more than a third of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture while in regions like sub-Saharan Africa including The Gambia, more than 70% women are employed in this sector, producing more than 90% of local stable food and over 99% of horticultural products.”
She recalled that in adopting its resolution on the observance of the day, the UN General Assembly in December 2007, cited two reasons; one recognising the fact that security, peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, require the active participation of women in all spheres of the economy; and two -to acknowledge the contribution of rural women to food security.
“For the women of the world, the day symbolises a wider meaning. It is an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for quality peace and development…,” she said.
MONTREAL—Comforted by the contradictions befitting classic Orwellian “doublespeak,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the Sommet de la Francophonie in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, over the weekend.
Prior to the weekend, Harper had already indicated to the Congolese, with a straight face no less, that they should engage in actions that favour democracy and respect for human rights. Such a posture of talking down to the Congolese allows Ottawa to cut short all legitimate questions concerning the historic responsibility of Canadian businesses and the Canadian government in the Great Lakes area conflict in Africa that claimed millions of Congolese lives between 1996 and 2003.
GABORONE, Botswana — In a landmark ruling, Botswana’s High Court on Friday affirmed women’s inheritance rights for the first time, up-ending a male-dominated system that had prevailed in the thriving African nation.
Liberia’s president has not done enough to tackle corruption, says her fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee.
Ms Gbowee, a peace activist, shared last year’s prize with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen’s Tawakul Karman.
She asked why Mrs Sirleaf’s sons had been given lucrative jobs and said she was resigning from the reconciliation commission.
Mrs Sirleaf became Africa’s first female elected head of state in 2006.
She was re-elected last year – just days after being awarded the Nobel prize.
“I’ve been through a process of really thinking and reflecting and saying to myself ‘you’re as bad as being an accomplice for things that are happening in the country if you don’t speak up,’” Ms Gbowee told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
“And when tomorrow history is judging us all let it be known that we spoke up and we didn’t just sit down,” she said.
Canada's leading media development organization kicks off an online drive to fund training for journalists on the elections beat in Sierra Leone.
TORONTO – Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), Canada’s leading media development organization, is launching the Sierra Leone Election Drive to raise awareness of the upcoming presidential elections in Sierra Leone and to raise funds to continue JHR’s journalist training programs in the country.
On November 17th, 2012 Sierra Leone will hold the third democratic election since the end of its devastating civil war in 2002.
Given the vital role media plays in setting the tone of an election, JHR’s presence could mean the difference between a peaceful election or a return to violence.
The labour strife in South Africa’s mines and the adoption of new disclosure rules for U.S. mining companies by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have cast renewed light on a global industry that affects the Canadian economy.
Every year, Canadian mining operations generate billions of dollars of revenue overseas. In fact, Canadian companies are some of the most globally active. More than 1,000 Canadian exploration companies work in more than 100 countries, from Mongolia to Peru to Tanzania. Canada’s mining investments in Africa alone have grown from $2.8-billion in 2001 to $30-billion in 2012.
The taxes and royalties that Canadian companies pay to countries that play host to them have the potential to transform economies. As we’ve seen in resource-rich countries such as Botswana, Chile and Malaysia, natural resource revenues paid to governments can be invested in roads, health care and education as well as business development and social services, leading to massive reductions in poverty. What’s more, Canadian operations can spur local economic development by creating jobs and financing community projects.
Yet, too often, these revenues are either not collected or not transformed into tangible benefits, leaving countries with more violent conflict and weaker growth than expected. In many instances, environmental destruction and loss of livelihoods, coupled with inadequate compensation, have left regions worse off than before.
And communities’ expectations, sometimes driven by prospectors’ and developers’ false promises of prosperity, are often unmet.
Senegal is putting Habre, former dictator of Chad, on trial for human rights abuse through the order of the The International Court of Justice.
“The holding of these proceedings will show that Africa can try Africa”. Earnestly the justice will be sought as Habre is seen as a symbol of impunity. His previous lawyer argued and successfully influenced the Senegalese authorities not to extradite him. The cooperation of the African Union (AU) and Senegal ought to be celebrated.
The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda failed to resolve a border-region dispute at a meeting yesterday, strengthening the position held by rebels whose insurgency has displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.
After Congo accused Rwanda of supporting an ethnic Tutsi- led rebellion in the east of the country, President Joseph Kabila and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame held a three-day summit with five other African leaders in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, which borders both countries.
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council on Thursday demanded an end to foreign support for the M23 rebels fighting against the Kinshasa government in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a rebuke diplomats said was aimed at Rwanda and Uganda.
The 15-nation council issued a statement voicing its “strong condemnation of any and all outside support to the M23 and demand that all support to the M23, including from outside countries, cease immediately.”
“They further call upon all countries in the region to cooperate actively with the Congolese authorities in dismantling and demobilizing the M23,” the statement said.
Nigeria was one of the few countries which actually saw an increase in terror attacks...
By Dana Hughes
The number of worldwide terror attacks fell to 10,283 last year, down from 11,641 in 2010 and the lowest since 2005, the State Department reported today.
What’s made the difference? The State Department cites the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda members killed last year…
Nigeria was one of the few countries which actually saw an increase in terror attacks last year because of Boko Haram, and Kenya and Somalia continue to experience attacks by a weakened Al Shabab. Benjamin also noted that the Arab spring and other countries in transition could leave important allies like Egypt and Iraq vulnerable to terror groups.
Last Sunday, the attention of the nation was drawn to the killings of innocent Nigerian Muslims, including unsuspecting travellers on the Kaduna-Abuja Highway, by Christians as a reprisal attack to Boko Haram bombings of churches in Kaduna and Zaria. A number of Mosques and shops were also burnt that Sunday in Christian-dominated neighbourhoods in the southern part of the city. In all the attacks, as at the last offical count, has killed 21 Christians, while the reprisals killed 29 Muslims and hundreds were injured. As a result, I will pause my series … to say a word about the matter…
The Christians have often emphasized that there is not enough voice of condemnation heard among Muslims. True. But that has to do more with the lack of protection from the government for those who would dare to do so…
The Christians, on their part, often forget that they have been most economical with their voice against acts of sectarian violence. It is very hard, very rare, and very unusual to hear a Christian voice – a leader or opinion shaper – condemning the atrocities committed by his fellow Christians against Muslims…
FW de Klerk, the Nobel peace laureate and former South African president, has warned that the country is again being poisoned by racism from political leaders, leaving Nelson Mandela’s spirit of reconciliation “almost totally gone”.
De Klerk suggested that the now retired Mandela must feel sad about the betrayal of the non-racial consensus he espoused as South Africa’s first black president, and that only a “second reconciliation” could restore it.
OTTAWA — A senior Canadian general was prepared to admit he’d made a mistake after Defence Minister Peter MacKay directly contradicted him in May by saying he did not know the Libya mission was estimated to cost more than $100 million.
But while Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance was ready to “own up” to making an error, a military public affairs officer waved him off by telling Vance he wasn’t necessarily wrong, and that “a political truth can sometimes be different.”
As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) works towards the 2015 elections, it has been advised to ignore any political party that does not have the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
This was the view of experts at a roundtable organised in Abuja yesterday by the Dispute Resolution Unit of the commission on how to minimise electoral cases in Nigeria.
Declaring the event open, INEC national commissioner in-charge of monitoring and development of political parties, Mrs. Amina Zakari, who represented the chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the use of the ADR would help to solve most of the crises that arise within and among political parties.
Shalom, Educating for Peace (SEP), a peace education NGO registered under the law of South Africa and working in Rwanda, will be awarded the Global Peacemaking Award from the International Public Policy Institute (IPPI) on the 9th of June. SEP has been educating communities for peace since 2008, reaching thousands of people in the Ndera, Rwamagana and Rulindo areas. The organisation has developed several programs, including a weekly radio broadcast on peace, training in nonviolent communication, and peace education through sports, theatre and song, amongst others. (read more…)
Though the war has ended, Charles Taylor has been sentenced, and mineral companies are thriving, the poor of this West African country are little better off.
By Greg Campbell
ADONKIA, Sierra Leone — Ten years after the end of Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war over control of its diamond fields, children as young as 3 years old continue to toil in its mines, hoping at best to earn a few pennies for food in a country still wracked by extreme poverty.
But the children aren’t looking for diamonds, which at least hold the hope of a big payday. In a sign of how desperate things remain in Sierra Leone, they’re reduced to one of man’s most difficult labors in their attempt to survive — breaking granite rocks into gravel and selling the piles, cheaply and infrequently, to construction companies for use in cement.
Child labor is nothing new in Sierra Leone, but children working in ad hoc rock quarries southeast of Freetown, the capital, is a new wrinkle resulting from the war, said Foday Mansaray, the headmaster of a free school he founded as the only alternative to a life of hard labor for most of the children enrolled there.
A man was shot dead because he got into a fight with a shopkeeper over change for a packet of cigarettes. This was a fairly un-noteworthy incident in South Africa in the summer of 1994, at a time when the country was in the throes of giving birth to a new constitution. Both the shopkeeper and his customer lived in one of the country’s many shantytowns, and both were well-connected to two opposing factions that had split the township in two. The two factions pledged allegiance to the same dominant liberation movement, but an intense leadership struggle for local control was underway. This meant that the killing assumed local political overtones. The township was tense, with everyone anticipating revenge at the funeral since violence often broke out at these times. The police were perceived as ‘the enemy’ for their role in enforcing apartheid, so local people did not trust they would successfully deal with the situation.
Instead, the local peace committee established under the country’s National Peace Accord (NPA), sprang into action. Meetings throughout the week involved political, religious and social
organizations. There was some tough and angry talk, but eventually all participants agreed on one goal – the funeral had to be peaceful, as indeed it was.1 The local peace committee had managed
to defuse a potentially violent incident. It might also claim credit for having prevented a vicious cycle of revenge attacks.
This study explores these local peace mechanisms and particularly focuses on structures established as part of a larger peace architecture. In 1997, Lederach noted two countries where regional and local peace commissions made effective contributions to peace: Nicaragua in the late 1980s, and South Africa in the early 1990s. Subsequently, similar local peace building mechanisms have been used in several situations as diverse as FYR Macedonia, Kenya, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Serbia, as well as in Northern Ireland. The UN system has been involved in various supportive
roles in some of these countries, and is considering involvement in others. It is too early to arrive at definitive international standards on implementing these structures, but there is a
sufficient body of experience to point to some tentative guidelines – the goal of this study… full paper (pdf)