Mohammed leads 1st joint AU-UN high-level mission to Africa

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Ms Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, is leading a first-ever joint AU-UN high-level mission to Africa, to highlight the role of women in achieving sustainable peace and development.

On Mohammed’s entourage are UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, and the Special Envoy of the AU on Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop.

The UN said over the past two days, the delegation met with key members of the Congolese Government, the donor community, as well as women leaders from the civil society.

At Kinshasa, the deputy secretary-general said their discussions revolved around “a focus on women, and how we can see women’s empowerment, address women’s human rights, and women with their rights to the electoral process”.

More broadly, while stressing the need to respect everyone’s abilities, she said “there is no one size that fits all”, adding that women’s every day rights must be addressed contextually.

“There is no aircraft that flies anywhere, or bird that flies anywhere, on half a wing,” she underscored.

She echoed her refrain from other stops on the trip that a critical step towards sustainable development for all is to ensure that women and girls, half the world’s population, receive the investments, opportunities, access and protection they require.

Mohammed explained that the UN and the AU had each begun another era with new leadership, reforms and frameworks.

The UN deputy scribe noted respectively the UN and AU 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) and the 2063 Agenda, both of which have placed women at the core.

She stressed the importance of reversing the tragedies of violence, particularly against women and children and ensuring that women’s and girl’s voices are heard in all aspects of society.

According to her, that should be at the core of the second leg of a high-level UN-AU mission to Africa, which visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“Peace is the bedrock,  the foundation, to allow us to develop our full potentials, but also to ensure that human rights are respected.

“Here we see that women’s rights, which are human rights, are not respected and we have a long way to go,” Mohammed said, emphasizing that “so much more can be done”.

She commended the DRC’s efforts to combat gender-based sexual violence, noting that having a woman, Léonard Okitundu, Vice-Prime Minister of the DRC in charge was probably the reason for the progress.

According to her, however, “what we really want to see is zero” gender-based violence.

“We hear what the DRC cannot do. We are here to discuss what the country can do with its women and young people,” she stressed.

She added that while the rights and aspirations of women “are far from” being attained, it was the job of the UN and AU to support closing the gap.

Mohammed explained the aim of bringing women leaders into the conversation and engaging with women to find the opportunities to overcome the challenges, “to change the narrative of victims to survivors and aspirations achieved within the 2030 Agenda”. (NAN)