Date: 1 November 2006
It was a momentous day in Kampala, Uganda, last Friday when UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Hon. Phoebe Asiyo handed the UNIFEM Peace Torch to Speaker of Parliament Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi and Deputy Speaker Hon. Rebecca Kadaga.
"Next time we visit Uganda, Mr. Speaker, we want to be talking about the implementation of the peace agreement that the women would have participated in its crafting," said Ambassador Asiyo. "We have left our children and our work in Kenya to be in support of our Uganda sisters, especially from the north, who are in distress and pain as a result of the war. We cannot continue to watch our neighbours suffer."
Six women leaders from Kenya had joined the Ambassador on this solidarity mission to Uganda. They included Hon. Zipporah Kittony, former member of Parliament and National Chairperson of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake; Hon. Esther Keino, Member of Parliament and Member of the Amani Forum; Ms. Betty Murungi, Exectuive Director of Urgent Action Fund Africa; Professor Wanjiku Kabira, former Constitutional Commissioner and Director of the Collaborative Centre on Gender and Development; and Ms. Anne Kamau, Member of the Christian Women's Association for Peace. The Kenyan women joined more than 500 Ugandans, mostly women, who were launching the Women's Peace Caravan at a time when the world was observing the 6th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325.
UNIFEM, in partnership with UNDP and SIDA, funded the activity, which is supporting the Uganda Women's Network and its 17 member organizations in the Civil Society Women's Peace Coalition in Uganda. The coalition is calling for women's effective participation in the ongoing peace talks in Juba between the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army. It is also demanding that specific women's rights issues be addressed, especially the protection of women against gender-based violence, property rights for displaced women, and women's participation in decision-making and transitional justice.
Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, Regional Programme Director for UNIFEM in East and Horn of Africa, and UN Resident Coordinator Theophane Nkiyema attended the launch and affirmed the United Nations' commitment to women's rights and security.
For more information, please contact Roselyn Gicira, roselyn.gicira[at]unifem.org