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Women crucial to Malawi’s peace—UN

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By Faith Kamtambe:

United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, has stressed the importance of recognising Malawian women as peacemakers and peace-builders, saying they make unique contributions to sustenance of the country’s peace.

At the commemoration of the International Day of Peace, which was held under the theme, ‘The Right to Peace’, Torres said women contributed to Malawi’s peaceful transition to democracy and continue to mediate conflicts in the society.

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“Women have a unique perspective in achieving peace. Women in Malawi have been on the frontline in the battle for human rights, gender equality and individual dignity for a very long time, including rights of future generations to live a dignified life in a peaceful environment,” she said.

Torres, however, noted that Malawian women are still subjected to multiple forms of discrimination and violence, with many having limited space to contribute to decision-making processes aimed at ensuring peaceful co-existence.

She said Malawi’s ranking on position 148 out of 160 countries on the 2017 UN Development Programme Gender Inequality Index shows that cases inequality are still high in the country.

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First Lady Gertrude Mutharika said more girls and women should educated and participate in different aspects of life, including in decision-making processes, to improve the country’s standing on gender equality and empowerment of women.

“There is mounting evidence that women are powerful actors in sustaining peace in their communities. Research has shown that achieving gender equality helps in preventing conflicts,” Mutharika said.

Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Grace Chiumia, also said the government has put in place various laws and policies to address challenges women face when participating in peace and development processes.

At the commemoration, women from different backgrounds in Malawi discussed their roles in ensuring inclusive institutions, justice for all and peaceful coexistence.

They also signed the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration which underlines that peace cannot be realised without promoting women’s rights.

The International Day of Peace is observed around the world every year on September 21 with the aim of strengthening the ideals of peace.

During this year’s commemoration, countries joined hands in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the global theme ‘The Right to Peace –The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70’.

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