AU Special Envoy Bineta Diop advocates for more women participation in the Somali peace process

Mogadishu:-The African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security, Ms. Bineta Diop, wants women in Somalia to increasingly play an active role in ongoing efforts to restore peace and security in the country.

Ms. Diop on Wednesday completed a one-day visit to Somalia, with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Amina Mohammed. The visit to Somalia was part of a broader, joint UN-AU solidarity mission to the Horn of Africa countries including Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea.

The two high ranking women also met the Prime Minister of Somalia, Hassan Ali Khaire, at his office in Mogadishu and held discussions on the upcoming landmark one-person, one-vote elections slated for 2020/2021, the constitutional review process, and the participation of women in politics.

The AU envoy also visited the AMISOM Force Headquarters, where she laid a wreath in honour of AMISOM troops and the Somali security forces who died in the pursuit of peace for Somalia.

AMISOM officials briefed the AU envoy on the contributions and progress of female peacekeepers. Ms. Diop, along with the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, also met with Somali women and female youth civic leaders.

Since the establishment of AMISOM in 2007, the number of women deployed under the mission has, over the years increased with several women taking up frontline and active roles in driving combat vehicles like the tankers and Armoured Personnel Carriers, and positioned in the Forward Operating Bases (FOBs).

Ms. Diop, whose role is to promote the protection and advancement of the rights of women and children affected by conflict in Africa, commended the female AMISOM troops for their active participation and contribution to restoring of peace and security in Somalia.

“I salute the women of AMISOM who, along with the men, are defeating terrorists. Thank you for defending the lives of Africans,” Ms. Diop noted.

The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, hailed Ms. Diop for championing the cause of women on the continent.

“We are happy to have you among us because of your clear vision and commitment to championing policies on issues relating to women, peace and security, the protection of children, and women’s rights,” Madeira noted.