Sunday, Jun 16, 2019

 

25 April 2019, Entebbe, Uganda:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program, concluded the three days training program on the roles of women in counter terrorism for all IGAD Member States, held from 22-24 April 2019 in Entebbe, Uganda.

It is evident that women and girls constitute nearly half of the population of the IGAD region. Despite the demographic significance, their inclusion in the processes of counter radicalization and counterterrorism has been limited. On the other hand, women and girls are the main victims of violent conflicts, and are disproportionately affected by acts of terrorism.  Studies show that women could play a crucial role in spotting radicalization in its early stages, and preventing terrorism through delegitimizing extremism narratives. They could also assist security actors to make counter terrorism program design and implementation more effective. This is not to ignore, however, that they can also be mobilizers and recruiters to terrorist groups, play support roles and perpetuate terrorist acts. 

It is within this context that this training workshop was organized. The purpose of the training was to bring a wider and deeper understanding of gender perspectives in terrorism and inform participants on the basic concepts, good practices, opportunities/challenges, international legal instruments that require/encourage women inclusivity in counter terrorism. It was, in the end, intended to support Member States in developing mechanisms where in women could play their share in the fight against terrorism.

 38 representatives from all IGAD Member States, out of which 35 were women, participated in the training.  The participants were drawn from relevant institutions such as the Police, Judiciary, Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSOs, Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Centers, and Ministry of women and human rights. 

 Regional experts who have extensive work experience shared their experiences and facilitated the training through interactive discussions, case studies, and group work to achieve the intended objective.  For instance, Ms. Fauziya Abdi Ali, founder and president of Women in International Security (WIIS) of (HoA), and Martine Zeuthen, a Senior Research Fellow at RUSI, based in Nairobi, shared their expertise and filed experience focusing on roles of women in terrorism in our region and beyond, among others. IGAD Gender Offices have also made valuable contributions on this training.

 During the three-days training, the following topics were covered, that was believed to have contributed to enhancing the knowledge of the participants.

  • Basic concepts on women, conflict, peace and security
  • IGAD's perspective on gender mainstreaming vis-à-vis women, conflict and peace
  • International/continental legal instruments on roles of women in conflict and peace with emphasis on counter terrorism
  • Women in Al-Shabaab - recruitment, roles, and rehabilitation efforts
  • Case studies on roles of women in addressing and countering terrorism
  • Challenges, opportunities, and good practices in roles of women in countering terrorism.

 Participants appreciated the content and methodology of the training by emphasizing on the knowledge they have acquired as well as the networking opportunities they have established that is believed to enhance their capacity in handling their respective areas of work.  They have further expressed the importance of women’s inclusivity in any counter terrorism approaches as women are found to be key players as both being a victim and a perpetrator that necessities making them part of the solution.

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22 April 2019, Entebbe, Uganda:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program, kicked off a three days training program on the role of women in counter terrorism for all IGAD Member States.

The training is expected to highlight basic concepts on gender dynamics in terrorism; explore and share experiences and roles women play(ed) in the past, ongoing and potential security challenges in their respective communities. It will also share relevant institutional experiences of governments, civil societies, and others in the region within specific countries.  This training is expected to bring a wider and deeper understanding of gender perspectives in terrorism.  It is expected to inform participants on the basic concepts, best practices, opportunities/challenges, legal instruments that require/encourage women inclusivity in counter terrorism. It is, in the end, intended to support Member States in developing mechanisms wherein women could play their share in the fight against this security threat.

 The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP). Commander Abebe welcomed all the participants and expressed his appreciation to the Government of Uganda for hosting.  In his welcoming remark, he highlighted that “terrorist and extremist groups recruit women to act as informants, facilitators, mobilisers and recruiters; play support roles and perpetrate terrorist act by joining voluntarily or forcibly”.  He further stressed that “fighting against terrorism requires a whole-society approach in which women’s participation is meaningfully needed...their participation in the fighting against terrorism are considerably important..it is our obligation to encourage and engage women in a more systematic basis to the nexus between gender and counter terrorism.”

 About 40 representatives from all IGAD Member States drawn from different institutions such as the Police, Judiciary, Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSOs, Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Centers, and Ministry of women and human rights are participating in this training.  Regional experts are expected to share their experiences and facilitate the training through interactive discussions, case studies, and group work exercises to bring about the required result of the training. 

 The training is part of IGAD SSP’s effort to contribute to the enhancement of the capacity of IGAD Member States’ institutions in their fight against terrorism.

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8 April 2019, Nairobi, Kenya: The Mediation Support Unit (MSU) of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) kick started a two-day meeting this morning in Nairobi, Kenya where IGAD Member States are reviewing a draft protocol on Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (CPMR) for the IGAD region.

The MSU has convened legal experts from Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs in the IGAD Member States with the aim of informing and shaping the CPMR draft protocol which will serve a standardized guide and mechanism for member states to jointly, effectively, efficiently and transparently design interventions; deploy envoys or mediators; and largely engage in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the region as guided by relevant International regional instruments among other principles.

During the opening session, Hon Siraj Fegessa, Director of the IGAD Peace and Security Division highlighted IGAD’s vision to build and strengthen the member states’ capacity in preventive diplomacy and mediation as well as guide them on prevention and response to conflicts in an efficient and timely manner for regional peace, stability and development. 

Speaking on behalf of the Kenya government, Mr. Agabio Mutembei Mutegi, Counsellor IGAD Focal Point at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commended IGAD for its effort in boosting Member States’ capacity in mediation and taking a lead role in conflict resolution, prevention through early warning and mediation in the region.

Through this meeting of experts, a framework will be generated upon agreement by all member states for ownership as well as share responsibilities of conflict prevention, management and resolution based on early warning capacity and zeal for collective action within the IGAD region.

The two-day engagement of legal experts from will provide knowledge, experience and familiarity with the draft CPMR protocol that will later be discussed in further regional consultations where the final draft will be endorsed and adopted by the IGAD policy organs.

MSU is undertaking these consultations with the financial support of the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) jointly managed between IGAD and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).

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14-03-2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Envoy to South Sudan; Ambassador Dr. Ismail Wais this morning together with senior representation from the Governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda and Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (JMEC) this morning met with a delegation representing Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff in the Government of South Sudan.

 This was the third engagement between Amb Dr. Wais and Lt Gen Cirilo who regrettably did not attend today’s meeting but delegated to a team to represent his position to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), which will be scrutinized by the IGAD Special Envoy.

 The IGAD Special Envoy was directed by the IGAD Council of Ministers during the 66th Extra-Ordinary Session on Somalia and South Sudan held in Addis Ababa on 16th November 2018 to reach out to the South Sudanese stakeholders and non-signatories to join in the implementation of the R-ARCSS.

 In the same pursuit, Amb Wais on March 11 and March 12, 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya engaged with General Paul Malong Awan, Chairman and Commander – Chief, South Sudan United Front/Army and former Chief of Defence Staff in the Government of South Sudan; where a Declaration to Engage in the Peace Process in South Sudan through negotiations with the Government of South Sudan was signed.

 

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11-03-2019, Djibouti: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and United Nations Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs (UN-DPPA) this morning embarked on a two-day meeting in Djibouti to have an in-depth discussion of recent developments in the Horn of Africa, their impact in the region and insight into how IGAD and UN can position themselves to accompany the region; taking into account regional and continental norms and frameworks in particular the principle of complementarity.

The other objective is to explore how the two organizations can continue to work together in support of regional solutions to regional challenges within their peace and security strategic priorities.

The IGAD Executive Secretary H.E Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim in his welcoming remarks highlighted that the challenges and opportunities in the Horn of Africa require the two organisations strategically plan, place and manage themselves using a regional approach within a global priority and context.

“Confidence building is required from IGAD Member States to result into well structured, inclusive, civil and diplomatic measures through dialogue, understanding communities and their needs for political, economic and social development” Amb Maalim added.

Speaking on behalf of the UN, Ms. Barbara Manzi, UN Resident Coordinator, Djibouti emphasized that the UN-IGAD partnership is crucial to assist and guide the region to face its current challenges collectively in order to be effective.

“Since 2015, the partnership has yielded many positive results” she added.

On behalf of the IGAD Chair and Ambassador of Ethiopia to Djibouti Amb Abdulaziz Mohammed called upon the IGAD member states to commit, maintain and promote the positive changes in the Horn of Africa by identifying challenges
and handling them in one approach vis a vis individual interest

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti; H.E Mohamed Ali Hassan reiterated on the importance of this partnership for the betterment of the future generations by all having the member states working together with a genuine common goal and initiative.

At the two-day meeting being facilitated by Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) /Social Science Research Council (SSRC) will also discuss strengths and weaknesses of Peace and Security Frameworks in the Horn of Africa as well as Risks and Opportunities in Multilateralism in the Horn of Africa.

The workshop is a follow up to the November 2018 IGAD-UN meeting that was held in Kampala, Uganda, where key recommendations and activities for joint engagement were identified.

The High Level Dialogue (HLD) is held periodically and  is attended by IGAD Member States and a high-level representation of IGAD and the UN Secretariats.

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