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Role of women in peace, political process focus of Darfur-wide forums
Published in Bikya Masr on 09 - 02 - 2013

EL FASHER (DARFUR): A series of workshops on women's participation in the Darfur Peace Process were organized throughout Darfur by the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). The forums, which targeted more than 160 local media representatives of which most were women, aimed at enhancing the capacity to advocate on the importance of the role of women in the peace and political process in the region.
The workshops, which began on 29 January in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, and concluded on 5 February in Zalingei, Central Darfur, focused on UN security council resolutions on women and, in particular, Resolution 1325.
During the two-day training the journalists were able to exchange ideas on how they can unify their efforts to play an effective role in their communities to empower women in issues related to peace and security.
Among the recommendations, the participants agreed that the media should highlight the concerns and experiences of various groups in the community, raising awareness on gender and women's rights. Also, the members agreed that the media should reflect and advocate on the role of women in peace building and conflict resolution.
As part of its mandate, UNAMID works on issues related to women, peace and security, which are guided by a number of UN Security Council resolutions to protect and promote women's rights, create an enabling environment in Darfur for the promotion of gender justice, respond to and mitigate gender-based violence and enhance women's participation in the peace process and decision-making.
Since 2008, the Mission has undertaken more than 240 capacity building trainings intended to raise awareness in issues related to gender-equality targeting the most effective groups from the local community to serve as agents to further spread the message.
Former child soldiers registered for reintegration
More than 70 former child soldiers, which included 24 girls, were recently registered in South Darfur for rehabilitation and reintegration. The former members of the Sudan Liberation Army / Historical Leadership (SLA/HL) were released in to the communities in 2011. A number of young adults identified as former child soldiers were also identified and registered to benefit from the reintegration program in compliance with a commitment made to the United Nations by the Movement.
The initiative, which took place in Nyala, South Darfur, from 17-31 January, was organized by the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission and supported by the African Union – United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
On 25 September 2011, SLA/HL submitted an action plan to the United Nations committing to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers in Darfur. In the plan, the Movement claims that the children who enrolled into the ranks did so for a number of reasons, including poverty, hunger, psychological issues, displacement and separation from their families. Also that year, the Movement signed a peace agreement with the Government that includes demobilization and an end to hostilities.
SLA/HL is the sixth armed movement in Darfur to have submitted an action plan on the recruitment of children.
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