COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE DIALOGUE ON THE GENDERED DIMENSION OF INSECURITY IN THE SOUTHEAST HELD ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2023.
CLEEN Foundation convened a virtual dialogue to discuss the gendered dimension of insecurity in the South-East region of Nigeria. It was an assessment of the gender-based violence arising from violence and insecurity in the region. The dialogue brought together experts on the subject from academia, government, civil society, media, development partners and other stakeholders to assess, reflect, discuss, share, learn and develop a regional roadmap on Women, Peace, and Security in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and the millennium development goals. A clear understanding of the issues and the narratives are important for programming and support.
- There is a noticeable underrepresentation of women in security dialogues and decision-making processes related to insecurity in the Southeast. Women’s perspectives and expertise must be integral to these discussions.
- In the face of conflicts, violence and insecurity, women and girls suffer most and deals with gender specific realities such as rape, unwanted pregnancy and children, kidnapping, loss of spouses and kids, providing for their families, loss of employment and income generating ventures, lack of basic amenities, health challenges and insecurity will have the most negative effect on women, girls, PWDs, aged and other marginalised groups;
- Loss of livelihood and food insecurity because women, girls and other vulnerables have stopped going to farm for fear of sexual abuse, kidnapping and murder by armed groups and criminals;
- Women and girls continue to suffer from sexual and gender based violence in conflicts and insecurity including rape, sexual harassment, unwanted pregnancy and children, kidnapping and murder, physical, emotional and psychological trauma, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment.
- Conflict and insecurity increase the economic vulnerability and suffering of women, girls, aged, PWDs and other marginalised population such as increase in food prices, and general cost of living puts women, girls, PWDs and other marginalised persons in vulnerable condition;
- Conflict and insecurity increases human rights violations, impunity, atrocities, from unprofessional conduct of state and non-state actors and armed groups’;
- Environment: The environment of operations of civil society is characterized by over-regulation of civil society, clampdown affecting freedom of expression, constriction of the civil space and the need for self regulation;
- Women Responsive Regional Consultative Dialogues: There is need to organize strategic dialogues with stakeholders – Women, Youth, Men, Traditional Rulers, Religious leaders, Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Groups to understand the narratives and the root causes of insecurity in the region. This is with a view to providing realistic interventions that would contribute in calming the tension and promoting public safety, security and peace in the region;
- Establishment of Truth, Peace & Reconciliation Commission: A judicial panel of enquiry should be established to get to the root of the problem with clear and practical recommendations in addressing it. This should include the prosecution of state and non-state actors involved in gross violation of human rights in the region. Members of the commission will include eminent sons and daughters of the south-east with impeccable character, pedigree and integrity.
- Gender Specific Budget Provision & Allocation: Gender-specific budget provision and allocation is crucial and coordinated by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs in collaboration with key stakeholders, CSOs and development partners. Budget provision, appropriation and allocation for the development and implementation of the regional roadmap and action plan on women, peace and security.
- Development & Implementation of Regional Roadmap & Action-plan on Women, Peace and Security: In line with the federal government’s national action plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, there is a need for active engagement and participation of women, girls, youth and other marginalized population in the development and implementation of regional roadmap and action-plan on women, peace and security in the south-east.
- Identify Early Warning Signals & Early Response: Engage with state and non-state actors to identify early warning signs in at-risk communities in the five states in the region with proactive response by state actors to reduce mass atrocities and impunity in the region. Identifying traditional mechanisms that we can hold on to and get to work, the important role of women, girls and marginalised groups should be central. A regional early warning centre is imperative.
- State Government should consider the PREVENT approach, a community policing strategy that aims to divert individuals from joining serious organized crime by providing them with alternative opportunities and positive lifestyle choices. The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is critical to the coordination of this multi-partner activity as it aims to contribute to NPF systems, processes and skills to coordinate and oversee the activity as it deals with Serious Organized Crime (SOC) in the southeast.
- Conduct gender specific studies and analysis on insecurity in the southeast. This will also document women’s stories and experiences in dealing with insecurity and violence in the southeast and provide statistical data for tailor made interventions, programming and interventions.
- Improve awareness creation and sensitization on the role of women, girls and marginalised population in peace and security. This is to enhance their availability, participation and contribution in mediation, reconciliation, conflict resolution, peacebuilding and security sector governance.
Call to Action:
Participants of this dialogue commit to advocating for the implementation of the above recommendations and collaborating with relevant stakeholders to address the gendered dimensions of insecurity in the Southeast. We call on governments, civil society, and the international community to join hands in ensuring the safety, security, and well-being of women and girls in the region.