“Action & Change Are Urgent” Now -Fmr. Pres. Sirleaf Implores AU against VAWG

MONROVIA: Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says violence against women  and girls is not only an injustice to the affected individuals, but a searing mark on African societies and countries, limiting development and preventing the sustaining or achievement of peace on the continent.

The former Liberian leader who said this requires a collective and congruent political, social and economic response rooted in a full understanding of our histories and current contexts, expressed belief at the 37th Ordinary Assembly of the African Union conference that that all African Union Heads of State understand that violence against women and girls limits development and prevents the achievement of peace.

She said “We are here to discuss an urgent issue at a decisive point in the Continent-wide efforts to end the scourge of Violence against Women and Girls,” noting, “We have listened to our newly elected Chairperson of the African Union and one of our Champions on this issue, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.”

Africa’s first democratically elected female president who said she was re-echoing the messages of previous speakers asserted that African leaders have reached an unacceptable point where “Action and change are urgent”.

“I want to acknowledge, with gratitude and a sense of hope, that our brother Heads of State are increasingly recognizing this through a variety of public ways – particularly through the Circle of Champions and through the Heads of State decision to negotiate an African Union Convention to End Violence against Women and Girls at the February 2023 Summit,” Madam Sirleaf noted.

According to her she believes that all African Union Heads of State understand that violence against women and girls is not only an injustice to the affected individuals, but a searing mark on our societies and countries, limiting development and preventing the sustaining or achievement of peace, which she indicated requires a collective and congruent political, social and economic response rooted in a full understanding of our histories and current contexts .

“We did not come to this point today without years of hard work – broad and wide consultations at all levels – including traditional and religious leaders, private sector, youth, civil society, academia and women themselves. These Consultations were conducted within the ambit of the three African Union Men’s Conferences on Positive Masculinity in Leadership to end Violence against Women and Girls – co-convened by a number of African Presidents and myself as the Patron of the African Women Leaders Network,” she asserted further.

Madam Sirleaf recounted the first one of the AU Conferences hosted was by H.E. Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on 25 November 2021; while stating that the second  was under the leadership of H.E. Macky Sall in Dakar from 10-11 November 2022 and the third Conference jointly hosted by H.E. Azali Assomani and H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria from 27-28 November 2023.

“These conferences, she disclosed, have deepened the roots of understanding and established leadership by Heads of State in taking forward the Ending Violence against Women and Girls agenda in Africa, as well as provided impetus for the development of an AU Convention on Ending Violence against Women and Girls.”

Madam Sirleaf maintained that it is a leadership which will inspire all men to hold themselves accountable and become allies to build societies which are safe and respectful of the dignity of women, men, youth and children.

“Let us be proud today as we are showing the way to a world whose moral compass appears to have been deeply eroded – a world where solidarity, respect for human dignity and multilateralism is limited further every day,” she said.

The former Liberian leader indicated that majority of the African countries have had to endure deeply impacting colonialism and others the brutality of both apartheid and colonialism, saying that as Africa takes its destiny into its own hands, there is a legitimacy to our ability to lead not only the Continent but the world on this issue.

According to her, the decision to negotiate an African Convention to end VAWG is groundbreaking.  “We must now build support for the development and negotiation of this instrument across our beloved Continent. We do not want another document which lies on shelves, known only to a few and rarely implemented,” she advised.

Any treaty, convention or other similar document, she said, can only be successful if the intended beneficiaries know what it is supposed to do for them. Ensuring that rights and protection can be claimed and actualized is a recognition of a common humanity.

“Today, I ask you, our current leaders to consider this an urgent task, a task which, if accomplished, is sure to transform our Continent, move us forward to peace and prosperity and hopefully contribute to a more just, safer and more secure world,” she pleaded.

Earlier, she expressed her pleasure and honor to join those she referred to as her sisters, former and current Presidents of four countries on our Continent, including H. E. Joyce Banda, H.E. Catherine Samba-Panza and H.E. Ameena Gurib Fakim, as well as other eminent women leaders well known to this august body.

“We are here as individuals and as the Elders of the African Women Leaders Network, – AWLN in short, a mobilizing platform for the transformation of the political, economic and social landscape of the African Continent, to increase the numbers of women leaders at the top and to ensure full gender equity,” she said.

The former Liberian President also noted the presence of H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the Union of Tanzania, who along with President Sahle-work Zewde, President of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, are also members of the AWLN Elders.

2 Comments
  1. Jake Doe says

    Ellen, true, violence against women and girls is not only an injustice to the affected individuals, but a searing mark on African societies and countries, limiting development and preventing the sustaining or achievement of peace on the continent.

    But the Joseph Boakai to whom you and your Washington insiders have given A SIX YEARS CONTRACT are rewarding and defending street mentalities and scumbags as the one calling himself prophet key who constantly insults and uses verbal violence and aggression against women and girls.

    And as you are making such a pronouncement, Boakai instructed his minister of injustice and his underlings to arbitrarily drop a case against that scumbag upon the behest of war criminal Prince Johnson. THE VICTIM, AMBASSADOR JULIE ENDEE HAS WRITTEN THE CHIEF JUSTICE ON THIS BEHAVIOR OF BOAKAI TO WHO YOU GAVE A SIX YEARS CONTRACT AS PUPPET IN CHIEF OF LIBERIA.

  2. Jake Doe says

    Ellen, true, violence against women and girls is not only an injustice to the affected individuals, but a searing mark on African societies and countries, limiting development and preventing the sustaining or achievement of peace on the continent.

    But the Joseph Boakai to whom you and your Washington insiders have given A SIX YEARS CONTRACT IS rewarding and defending street mentalities and scumbags as the one calling himself prophet key who constantly insults and uses verbal violence and aggression against women and girls.

    And as you are making such a pronouncement, Boakai instructed his minister of injustice and his underlings to arbitrarily drop a case against that scumbag upon the behest of war criminal Prince Johnson. THE VICTIM, AMBASSADOR JULIE ENDEE HAS WRITTEN THE CHIEF JUSTICE ON THIS BEHAVIOR OF BOAKAI TO WHO YOU GAVE A SIX YEARS CONTRACT AS PUPPET IN CHIEF OF LIBERIA.

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