AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security commemorates the International Women’s Day with African Police Chiefs in Algeria

By African Union Commission (AUC)

On the 8th March 2016, the African Union (AU) Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, Mme Bineta Diop, joined African heads of security forces on the occasion of the Fifth General Assembly of the Kigali Declaration on the role of security forces in preventing violence against women and girls. The event which took place in Algiers, Algeria, coincided with the commemoration of the International Women's Day, celebrated by the AU under the theme, “Agenda 2063: A Pledge for Gender-Equality and Women's Empowerment”.

Speaking on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Special Envoy said that the 'Algiers platform' is “a clear indication of commitments made by African states to end violence against women, and to silence the guns on the African continent by 2020”. She added that it was an opportunity for AU member-states to share best practices in the fight against gender-based violence.

Mme Diop noted that there have been many strides with regards to combating sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), particularly through laws and policies. However, a lot more needs to be done to translate these provisions into tangible impact for women and girls on the ground. She stressed that law enforcement agencies and personnel, as first responders within communities are at the forefront of this endeavour. Successfully combating SGBV cannot happen without the committed action of security services.

She commended member states of the African Union for the efforts they have made to ensure their police forces are more gender sensitive, also resulting in the recruitment and promotion of more women within their ranks. Nevertheless, she emphasised that more needs to be done. Change should not only be in terms of numbers and rank, but also in deeper transformation of the security services, encompassing behavioral change and empowerment towards zero tolerance on issues of violence against women (VAW), within the forces themselves and in the communities.

She ended with the note that securing women was an endeavour that would sustain peace within communities and countries.

The Fifth General Assembly which was held from the 7th to 8th March was attended by the Prime Minister of Algeria, the United Nations Secretary General, ministers and high dignitaries from across the continent.