Dame Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s First Lady and President, Africa First Ladies Peace Mission, on Saturday canvassed for the recognition of the Mission at the United Nation as an observer.
Jonathan spoke in Abuja at a meeting of the AFLPM Executive Bureau made up of First Ladies of Congo Brazavaille, South Africa, Cameroun and Sudan.
”Excellencies, as we review preparations for the eighth Summit of the AFLPM, I note with satisfaction that we have established communication with the UN and regional organisations for the purpose of building partnership with them.
”I wish to suggest Your Excellencies, therefore, that we should go a step further and push for a seat at the next meeting of the AU and also seek for the recognition of the Peace Mission by the UN on observer status basis,’’ she said.’
She said that this had become imperative as the mission had established communication with the UN and other regional organisations.
Jonathan recalled that at the seventh summit, which took place in July 2012, certain targets set out included building a culture of peace in Africa, complementing humanitarian support for refugees/Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and influencing legislation on gender issues.
She sought for measures to protect women and children in conflict areas and as well as the pursuit of capacity building for women groups.
”After 20 months, I’m delighted to note that we have made remarkable progress in these critical areas.
”I wish to acknowledge that the Mission has provided relief materials in form of food items, clothing, drugs, beddings and other essential items, including monetary support to IDPs in Mali, Kenya and South Sudan, ’’ she said.
She further said relief materials had been sent to Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic while materials for Guinea-Bissau were ready.
The AFLPM boss urged any member country willing to host the next biennial summit of the mission to indicate its interest.
She also proposed that the hosting of the meetings of the Executive Bureau of the mission be rotated among member countries.
Jonathan restated the importance of domesticating the legal instruments relating to women and children by member countries as articulated in the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
”I urge you all to explore every possible political and legal means to ensure that this legislation is domesticated in your respective countries.
”For us in Nigeria and as part of the National Action Plan Response, we mobilised Nigerian women for a peace rally which was tagged ”One Million March for Peace” on Aug. 15, 2013 in Abuja,’’ she said.
She also urged member countries not to lose sight of the fact that women face the challenges of unequal access to education, employment and government structures, especially those trapped in conflict situations.
Jonathan canvassed support for all African presidents in ensuring peace for a stable as well as prosperous polity and sustainable democratic development.
She appealed to various actors in the conflicts in South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic to embrace peace and resolve to live together amicably.
The First Lady of Sudan, Hajiya Widad Omer, who doubles as the AFLPM Vice-President East Africa, lent her voice to Resolution 1325.
In her report, Mrs Nompumelelo Zuma, who is the Vice-President , Southern Africa, argued that a culture of peace should be built across the continent emphasising the need for unity.
The First Lady of Congo Brazaville, Mrs Antoinette N’Guesso, who was represented by Mr Michael Mongo, canvassed that urgent attention be directed to CAR to aid ”our brothers and sisters in conflict.”
Mrs Chantal Biya, the First Lady of Cameroon and regional Vice-President of Central Africa, said the challenge in CAR was receiving humanitarian attention.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the AFLPM was formed in 2005 to foster peace on the African continent .