Africa: Sudan Women’s Peace Dialogue Concludes with a Powerful Call for Inclusive Peace and Security in Sudan

The Sudan Women’s Peace Dialogue, a landmark conference held in Kampala on July 3-4, 2024, gathered more than 60 Sudanese women from various backgrounds. Participants included representatives from peace-building networks, political groups, faith-based organizations, and civil society.

Convened by the African Union Commission’ Chairperson H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat through the Office of the Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and under the leadership of the AU High Level Panel on Sudan (HLP-Sudan), this event aimed to elevate the voices of Sudanese women in the ongoing efforts to achieve lasting peace and security in Sudan.

The dialogue is part of ongoing efforts by the African Union relevant departments, in collaboration with key partners including FemWise-Africa, the AU Gender, Peace and Security Programme (GPSP), the African Women’s Leadership Network (AWLN), UN Women and Denmark to ensure the inclusion and leadership of women in Sudan’s peace processes.

The Sudan Women’s Peace Dialogue is a key initiative led by the African Union’s dedicated departments, aimed at advocating for and securing the meaningful participation and leadership of women in Sudan’s peace processes. This dialogue aligns with the broader objectives of silencing the guns, promoting good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice, and the rule of law, as outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Collaborating with key partners such as FemWise-Africa, the AU Gender, Peace and Security Programme (GPSP), the African Women’s Leadership Network (AWLN), UN Women, and Denmark, these efforts ensure that women’s voices and leadership are integral to achieving a peaceful and secure Africa.

At the opening ceremony, H.E. Bineta Diop , the African Union Commission’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security, warmly acknowledged the significant contributions of the distinguished dignitaries present. She conveyed the African Union’s deep concern and unwavering support for Sudanese women, stating, “To our dear sisters from Sudan, we stand with you in solidarity. Your resilience is truly commendable. We are collectively committed to supporting your efforts, and this platform is yours. If Sudan is in peace, Africa will be in peace.

“Your strength and determination are the bedrock of Sudan’s future,” Uganda Prime Minister H.E Robinah Nabbanja remarked. “It is imperative that you rise above your differences and work collectively to shape a peaceful and secure Sudan. Your voices must resonate across Africa as a testament to the power of unity and resilience.

H.E Dr. Speciosa Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe , Member of the AU High-Level Panel on Sudan and Former Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, offered words of encouragement to Sudanese women, emphasizing resilience and unity. “In every endeavor where progress is made, challenges are inevitable,” remarked Dr. Kazibwe. “As incidents of displacement and sexual violence continue to rise, Sudanese women shoulder the responsibility to strengthen our determination in forging a new path towards lasting peace.”

Reflecting on the transformation from unheard voices to a unified force, Dr. Kazibwe highlighted the crucial role of broad support in their efforts. “Today, we stand together, empowered by widespread solidarity,” she affirmed. “It is imperative that we seize this moment to drive meaningful change and secure a peaceful future for Sudan.

Uganda’s Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Hon. Betty Amongi, highlighted the need for a united front among Sudanese women. She emphasized, “As we discuss, let us focus on the issues that impact all women and children, without regard to religion, race, or background. It is crucial for you, as the women of Sudan, to clearly articulate why your inclusion at the peace table is indispensable and to define the post-war society you envision.

H.E. Hanna Tetteh, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa further stressed the fundamental importance of women’s involvement in peace and security processes. “Women’s participation is not merely a symbolic gesture. It should not be something we continuously have to advocate for; it is a right,” said H.E. Tetteh. “Women deserve their rightful place at the decision-making table. It is crucial that the gains Sudanese women have tirelessly fought for are not just preserved but strengthened and reestablished.”

H.E. Amb. Rebecca Amuge Otengo , Uganda’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Member of the African Union Peace and Security Council, underscored the urgent need for action to secure a peaceful future for women and children in Sudan. “The future of women and children is at stake,” she declared. “We cannot allow the cycle of conflict to continue, where children of women born in war are destined to live through the same hardships.

This must end.” Ambassador Otengo pledged her commitment to ensuring that the resolutions from the Sudan Women’s Peace Dialogue are brought before the Security Council. “We must ensure that the voices of women are not just heard but actively integrated into the resolutions shaping the new government. Their perspectives are essential for building a peaceful and just future,” she affirmed.

H.E Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka , Former Vice President of the Republic of South Africa; Member of the AU Panel of the Wise and FemWise-Africa addressing the global community, highlighted the critical need for heightened awareness and action regarding the conflict in Sudan. “Around the world, countless conflicts are unfolding, but the crisis in Sudan remains underreported,” she emphasized.

We must galvanize the media and amplify the messages emerging from this dialogue. It is essential that the world understands the severity of the situation in Sudan and recognizes the profound impact on women and children.” Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka called for concerted efforts to ensure that the plight of these vulnerable groups is acknowledged and addressed.

“By bringing these issues to the forefront, we can mobilize the support necessary to make a meaningful difference in their lives,” she asserted. Sudanese Women reaffirmed their shared commitment to advancing women’s inclusion and participation in peacebuilding efforts across Africa, particularly in Sudan. They collectively emphasized that a sustainable peace process must integrate the voices and experiences of women.

The participants agreed on the necessity of comprehensive inclusion in all political and peace processes. They stressed the importance of gradual and extensive engagement with all parties involved in the conflict, ensuring that women’s voices are not just heard but are central to decision-making and implementation.

A significant outcome of the dialogue was the development of a shared vision for a peaceful and stable Sudan. The participants formulated a common agenda for a gender-responsive peace process, focusing on inclusion, justice, and sustainable development.

The dialogue concluded with a commitment to continue advocating for women’s representation in upcoming peace negotiations. The participants also agreed on criteria for selecting women representatives to the political dialogue and developed strategies to build a broad-based women’s movement in support of peace in Sudan.

The Sudan Women’s Peace Dialogue stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of Sudanese women in their pursuit of peace and security. The African Union, together with its partners, remains steadfast in supporting these efforts and ensuring that the future of Sudan is shaped by inclusive and equitable dialogue.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Catherine Gaku Njeru| Office of the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of AU Commission on Women, Peace and Security| Tel: +251-11-5517700 ext.2047-+251-11- 518 2047 | E-mail:wpsa@africa-union.org| Addis Ababa, Ethiopia