The Nobel Women’s Initiative Delegation, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams and actor-activist, Mia Farrow, left Thailand to join the leadership of Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai in Addis Ababa, seat of the African Union. The Delegation held a briefing with international press and government officials at the African Union. At the briefing, members of the Delegation called for an immediate cessation of violence in Darfur, and full support for legitimate negotiations to build sustainable peace. The Delegation expressed extreme concern about the on-going, systematic violence against women and children including the use of rape as a weapon of war.
While thanking the African Union (AU) for its efforts to bring peace to Darfur through the first AU peacekeeping mission as well as its continued role in the UN/AU hybrid UNAMID mission, the Delegation pressed for more vigorous political action to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table to end the years of carnage. Delegates stated that such an effort requires strong leadership from all African countries, with the support of the African Union and the international community.
–July 28, 2008. (African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
A delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative—including Nobel Peace Laureates Wangari Maathai of Kenya and Jody Williams of the United States, and award-winning American actress-activist Mia Farrow—is looking forward to meeting with African Union Commissioner Jean Ping and AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtene Lamamra. The delegation is calling for an immediate cessation of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, and full support for legitimate negotiations to build sustainable peace. Of paramount concern is the on-going, systematic violence against women and children including the use of rape as a weapon of war. To achieve these ends will require strong leadership from all African countries, with the support of the African Union and the international community.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative delegation is in Africa as part of a three-week mission with stops in Thailand, the Thai-Burma border, Addis Ababa, South Sudan and the Chad-Darfur border.
The delegation commends the African Union for stepping forward to work actively in Darfur, and extends its condolences for the losses it has suffered in the region. The delegation calls for the international community to fully implement UN Resolution 1769, which allows for the full deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur.
The delegation is appealing to the President of Sudan to allow the resolution to be fully and rapidly implemented for the sake of the people of Sudan, in particular the people of Darfur. In 2005, at the UN World Summit, the resolution regarding the responsibility to protect was unanimously adopted, including by the Government of Sudan. The delegation is calling upon President Omar al Bashir to accept the responsibility to protect the people of Darfur, with the full support of the African Union and the international community.
The delegation is concerned about the practice of extracting resources from Sudan and indeed all of Africa in exchange for weapons that fuel conflicts and are the cause of untold suffering . It is calling upon the international community—particularly those who do with business directly with African governments and consider themselves friends of Africa—to cease supplying weapons and work instead to build sustainable peace, human security and real development to benefit all the people of Africa.
Delegation members note that it is within these nations’ considerable power to persuade Khartoum to cease their ongoing bombardments and ground attacks upon civilians and admit the full deployment of peacekeepers.
After leaving Addis, the delegation is going to South Sudan and refugee camps in Eastern Chad, along the border with Darfur. In their meetings with government, civil society and women’s groups in Sudan and Chad, Professor Maathai and her colleagues are looking forward to listening to what the groups have to say, and plan to encourage them to continue the important work of pursuing peace despite all the challenges.
Representatives of the women’s delegation explained the goals of their trip as follows:
1) To spotlight and raise awareness of the massive violations to women’s human rights;
2) To reinforce efforts to bring about participatory governance in Sudan and Burma (and throughout the world); and
3) To call upon citizens around the world to take individual and collective action to build sustainable peace and to insist that the international community implement existing commitments for peace, justice and equality in Burma and Sudan.
The Delegation, organized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, are travelling to South Sudan, Addis Ababa, and Chad, in an effort to convene, listen to, and relay the messages of key women’s organizations. The goal of the Delegation is to amplify women’s efforts for peace and justice, with a view to promoting effective resolutions to the political crisis in Sudan and Darfur. In particular, the Delegation will focus attention on human rights, the broader crisis of political rights, including violations to women’s rights.
Delegate members include Chinese labour activist Qing Zhang; Dr. Sima Samar, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan; Leymah Gbowee, Executive Director of Women, Security and Peace Network Africa; Wanjira Mathai, Executive Director of the Green Belt Movement; and Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, co-founder My Sister’s Keeper.
Women’s Initiative calls ‘friends of Africa’ for positive influence in the region, The Africa Monitor, 30 July 2008.
A group of Nobel Peace Laureates call for action to end violence in Darfur, African Press International, 30 July 2008.
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