The Pan-African Parliament urged to lead the campaign to Silence the Guns in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, 28 November 2019 – The two-day high-level Joint Workshop for women and youth parliamentarians from the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), a precursor to the launch of ‘Silencing the Guns’ as the African Union (AU) theme of the Year 2020, kicked off today at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At least fifty (50) women and young legislators as well as members of the Committee on International Relations and Conflict Resolution are attending the forum, organized jointly by the Office of AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns in Africa, the AU Department of Political Affairs and the Office of the Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security.

“I believe that peace, security and socio-economic development should be pursued simultaneously. One cannot exist without the other,” Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, the AU High Representative on Silencing the Guns said in his opening remarks.

He urged the  legislative arm of the AU to persuade Member States to develop and implement National Action Plans on silencing the guns.

“I cannot over-emphasize your oversight role over national legislative bodies. I urge you to use your platform, to lobby African governments to commit to tangible action on peace and security,” Amb. Lamamra added.

In his message delivered by Hon. Amina Abdou Souna, Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Education, Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG said that women and the youth play a key role in peace-building and security on the continent and their contribution to silencing the guns is critical in achieving a conflict free Africa.

“The Bureau of the PAP is keen on ensuring that African legislators especially women and the youth participate actively in peace and conflict resolution initiatives. This forum will provide our members with the tools to advocate for peace and engage all relevant stakeholders in the process of Silencing the Guns in Africa.”

During the two-day meeting, members of the PAP will deliberate on the role of parliamentarians and law makers in silencing the guns at national level and recommend actions to the Silencing the Guns campaigns. The workshop will also deliberate on the root causes of conflict such as governance and socio-economic disparities.

“Silencing the Guns is at the nexus of peace and development. It is not just about guns, it is about what drives people to resort to guns. We need to address those underlying issues,” noted Mrs. Aissatou Hayatou, the Silencing the Guns Operations Manager.

As part of AU Agenda 2063, the AU Heads of State and Government adopted the Silencing the Guns by 2020 initiative as a flagship project that aims to end all conflicts in Africa by 2020. While good progress has been made in reducing state-driven conflicts, recurring conflicts in several regions is rolling back gains already made in achieving lasting peace. In 2020 the AU will reinforce its efforts to silence the continent’s guns, focusing in particular on addressing the underlying root-causes and facilitating socio-economic development on the continent.