Nobel Women Peace Laureates Call for Immediate Cessation of Violence in Darfur and Support for the Full Implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
–August 1, 2008. (Juba, Southern Sudan)
A delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative—including Nobel Peace Laureates Wangari Maathai of Kenya and Jody Williams of the United States, and activist-actor Mia Farrow met in Juba this week with Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Government of Southern Sudan, three women ministers and with representatives of more than 30 Sudanese women’s non-governmental groups from across the country.
The delegation is meeting with women’s groups in South Sudan tolisten to their strategies for creating sustainable peace throughout Sudan and to express solidarity with those who are working tirelessly to strengthen and preserve the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The delegation traveled to Juba from Addis where meetings were held with Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, and where the delegation also called for an immediate cessation of violence in Sudan’s Darfur region.
Of paramount concern is the on-going, systematic violence against women and children including the use of rape as a weapon of war. Sudan is also host to one of the world’s largest number of internally displaced persons, a tremendous hardship for women and children. War in Darfur and political upheaval throughout Sudan are crushing the survival and health of all Sudanese women and girls: Sudan today is known as the country with the single highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Over her lifetime, experts working in the region estimate that a Sudanese woman is 150 times more likely to die in childbirth than her sisters in the United States or Europe. Almost all of these deaths are preventable if peace is sustained.
Delegates refuted the notion that Darfur is an exclusively African problem, as violence has spilled well beyond Sudan’s borders into neighboring countries including Chad and the Central African Republic—threatening security in those countries. To secure a lasting peace, strong leadership is required from all African countries, with the support of the African Union and the international community. The onus is on the entire international community to bring an end to the horrors in Darfur and other parts of Sudan. The delegation is calling upon all governments in the region to prioritize the protection of people in Darfur, and those living in refugee camps in Eastern Chad and on other borders as well.
Specifically, the delegation called for the international community to fully implement UN Resolution 1769, and immediately fully deploy UN peacekeepers in Darfur. The delegation is appealing to the leadership in Sudan to allow the resolution to be fully and rapidly implemented for the sake of the people of Sudan, particularly the people of Darfur. Delegates reminded the international community of its responsibility to protect the people of Darfur, as agreed to by the Government of Sudan and the rest of the international community at the 2005 UN World Summit.
The delegation is concerned about the practice of extracting resources from Sudan and all of Africa in exchange for weapons that fuel conflicts and promote suffering. The delegation is calling upon countries that do business with Sudan and indeed all of Africa to support these countries to promote good governance that respects human rights and protects its people. Those who consider themselves friends of Africa should support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. These same countries must persuade Khartoum to cease ongoing bombardments and ground attacks on civilians and cease to obstruct the full deployment of peacekeepers.
Representatives of the 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.
Background: The Nobel Women’s Initiative (NWI) was founded in 2006 by six Nobel Peace Laureates. Struck by increasing instability and gross violations to women’s rights worldwide, the women laureates have brought together their extraordinary experiences to work for peace with justice and equality.