African Union decries war-inflicted sexual violence on Peace Day

Added On September 22, 2016

 Chair of the African Union (AU) Commission on Wednesday reiterated AU's zero tolerance of sexual and gender-based violence.

In her message on the International Day of Peace, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also called for peace and denounced war-related violence on women and children.

"It is disheartening that, in 2016, I continue to receive reports of incidences of sexual violence meted out against women and girls as a weapon of war, most recently from South Sudan, Central African Republic, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo," she noted.

"Sexual and gender-based violence has no place in our world: we must fight them relentlessly," the chairperson said.

Regarding the theme of this year's Peace Day, she stated that many AU member states and their leaders are increasingly taking ownership of the sustainable development goals, but more importantly of Agenda 2063: Africa's blueprint for economic growth and social transformation.

"However, let us not forget that for as long as the gunfire continues to disrupt the tranquility of our blossoming societies and haunt the safety and security of our citizens, particularly of our women and girls, we will not achieve these noble aspirations for our people," said Dlamini-Zuma.

The pan-African bloc acknowledges member states' efforts to minimize violence during elections and continues to encourage African political leaders and their supporters to use legal and peaceful means to address elections-related disputes, she said.

"We will continue to enhance our initiatives in structural conflict prevention as well as increasing our post-conflict reconstruction and development programs in countries such as South Sudan, Central African Republic and Somalia," she said.

She said AU commends the decision by heads of states to establish the Peace Fund, as well as to support 25 percent of peace operation funding on the continent, which will provide predictable and sustainable funds to drive the goal of silencing the guns by 2020.