Female peacekeepers serving under the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), and the Somali Police Force (SPF) today commemorated International Women’s Day by taking stock of their contribution to global peace and security.
The peacekeepers drawn from ATMIS’ military, police and civilian components joined hands with their Somali police counterparts in expressing solidarity with fellow women working on the frontlines to restore peace and security in volatile areas.
“I am proud to say that the women peacekeepers serving under ATMIS are trailblazers. Many of them broke into male-dominated fields in their home countries and have continued to distinguish themselves while here in Somalia,” said ATMIS
Police Commissioner, Hillary Sao Kanu, who was the chief guest at the celebrations. Kanu, who represented the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, and Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, hailed the Federal Government of Somalia(FGS) and the Federal Member States for their efforts in advancing the socio-economic and political rights of women.
“I applaud the Federal Government of Somalia for the launch of the Somali National Action Plan(NAP) for the implementation of the Somali Women’s Charter and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which addresses the impact of women and their role in conflict resolution and humanitarian response,” she added.
This year’s theme, “Gender Equality through Innovative Peacekeeping,” was adapted by ATMIS in view of the critical role female peacekeepers play in bringing positive change in Somalia.
ATMIS Chief Military Personnel and Administrative Officer, Col. Bassie Abdul Lawrence Sesay, said ATMIS will continue championing gender equality terming women’s role in peacebuilding and reconstruction as critical.
“Gender Equality prevents violence against women and girls, while gender inequality is a root cause of violence against women. ATMIS will continue to promote gender equality because women living from fear and violence is a basic human right,” said Col. Sesay who spoke on behalf of the military component.
In his remarks, ATMIS Acting Head of Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit, Dr. Omar Alasow, commended the tremendous contribution Somali women have made in peacebuilding in the Horn of Africa nation.
“Somali women have made significant contributions to the country both during and after independence. During the civil war, they served as the backbone of Somali society. We thank them for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make in peace building. We hope to improve Somali women’s relationships with ATMIS,” he said.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security empowers women to actively participate in peacekeeping missions. SPF’s Head of Women and Children Rights Protection, Fardowsa Abdullahi, challenged Somali women to take an active role in politics and peacebuilding to help strengthen their role in leadership.
“I urge Somali women to be more visible in various spheres of life, such as politics, security and civil service. Women are a force to be reckoned with, and they should not give up,” said Fardowsa.
The peacekeepers were drawn from ATMIS Troop and Police Contributing Countries of Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
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