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Science Women peacebuilders reinforce dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution in discussions with imprisoned leaders

Women peacebuilders reinforce dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution in discussions with imprisoned leaders

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This discussion took place on Tuesday 25 April 202he main prison in Yaoundé.

For french verson click here

With increasing global challenges and the rising threat of conflicts, the need for Peace has never been greater. Women peace-builders play a vital role in fostering sustainable Peace and security in their communities and beyond.
Since the outbreak o

f armed conflicts in several regions in Cameroon, Women Peace-builders have been at the forefront of peace-building initiatives in communities and at the national and international levels.
In 2021, the national platform '1st National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon' was born. It is the largest and most far-reaching group of women's organisations, and networks united around Peace in 

Cameroon. It connects the vision, experience, skills and energies of 78 women's organisations from all ten regions, all sections of civil society and the full spectrum of women's social categories in Cameroon into a critical mass for Peace. On behalf o

f everyone who cares for Cameroon, they are pressing on to reach a common goal: promoting and restoring Peace.
From 29 to 31 July 2021, the platform organised the very first National Women's Convention for Peace

in Cameroon, gathering 1800 participants at the Yaounde Conference Centre. The culmination was the 'Women's Call for Peace', which sent a strong signal that the women of Cameroon are ready to dialogue, contribute to negotiations and support a Peace agreement.
From 19 to 21 September 2022, the platform promoted the possibility of dialogue and the idea of Peace by organising the first-ever National Women's Negotiations for Peace in Cameroon at the Yaounde Conference Centre. Gathering all role players around the Peace table, platform members simulated actual official Peace negotiations, striking national awareness.
The platform's actions are guided by the principle of peaceful conflict resolution, continued and inclusive dialogue and comprehensive, restorative justice. The Peace Treaty emanating from the first-ever National Women's Negotiations for Peace in Cameroon states in Article 13:
"We will continuously push for negotiations and dialogue; we will engage with all actors permanently, in an open and frank manner, until all parties reach a consensus on the questions that divide us."
In their view this engagement with all actors includes government, the international community, local communities and grassroots as well as non-state armed groups. The platform's work is transparent, democratic and inclusive.
In keeping with the principle of inclusivity, the women of the Convention visited detainees of the Yaounde Principal Prison on Tuesday 25 April 2023. They did so to bring the message of Peace to the prisoners and touch the reality of their daily life. The delegation comprised the Steering Committee of the Women's Convention – five women Pace-builders from across Cameroon – and staff members of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is the Secretariat of the Convention.
In speaking with the imprisoned Anglophone leaders, these women and mothers say they are reaffirming their motherhood of all humanity – free and detained, guilty and innocent, accused and condemned.
One member of the delegation said the first step towards Peace is to see the people on the other side of the table as human beings and not the embodiment of cruelty. Listening to them allows us to know and understand their perspective and engage with them meaningfully.
Their action in undertaking the prison visit is inspired, they say, from the famous words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that human beings “are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
With this first prison visit, the women of the '1st National Women's Convention for Peace in Cameroon' have again shown that they can build bridges between different actors and to exclude no one.
According to one member of delegation, the Anglophone leaders were cordial and friendly, their thoughts infused with humanity and their ideas are tempered with reason.
Asked “why now”, she said “Dialogue leading to Peace is imperative. The military solution is not a solution because war is unwinnable. No one is prepared to pay the cost of winning which is loss of life on a grand scale through extreme cruelty and brutality.”
Finally, following the prison visit, the Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation said “Peace is at once a starting point, a journey and a destination. Women are the overlooked link in the chain of Peace. The women of Cameroon want Peace and are saying proudly to everyone, in the words of the Convention slogan: 'I am a woman – I build Peace, piece by piece.'”
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