World YWCA has joined with other women's organisations around the globe to call for end to the violence in Madagascar. More than 100 people have died in violent clashes during the political turmoil that has rocked the country. On February 7, police fired at opposition supporters marching toward the presidential palace, killing at least 25 people.
In a statement to the African Union Commission (AUC), a growing number of women's organisations have condemned the use of violence they say is “becoming a recurrent feature of political crises in many African countries: in the DRC, Sudan, Kenya, Zimbabwe and now in Madagascar.”
The statement also urges the AUC to include women in Madagascar's political processes and decision-making and called for the appointment of a high-level African woman to be part of the team that will facilitate the resolution of the political crisis.
YWCA of Madagascar closed their offices after the January 7 shootings in observance of the Day of Mourning. World YWCA General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda says the violence must end. “This kind of experience is numbing, and it is at this moment that we have to raise our voice and say No to violence. We have to have find ways of engaging with the African leadership as the spaces for real security and political discourse remains exclusionary.”
We, the undersigned members of the African Feminist Forum, are grieving with our Malagasy sisters, following the tragic bloodshed of 7 February 2009 in Antananarivo.
We join Malagasy women in condemning the use of deadly means of repression against unarmed demonstrators. The use of violence in order to silence dissenting voices is becoming a recurrent feature of political crises in many African countries: in the DRC, Sudan, Kenya, Zimbabwe and now in Madagascar. This has gone hand in hand with gross violations of peoples' rights to be free from fear and hunger, together with the continued marginalization of women in political processes and decision making.
As African women striving to promote the accountability of our leaders to their peoples, respect for human rights, and a culture of peace in our continent, we are deeply concerned about the growing number of violent and militarized responses to popular demand for democratic change in governance, and for getting out of abject poverty. We strongly support our Malagasy sisters' call for sea change in political and economic governance across the African Continent, including the equal representation of women at all levels of decision making.
As a first step in this direction, we urge the African Union Commission to:
* appoint a high-level African woman to be part of the team that will facilitate the resolution of the political crisis in Madagascar;
* ensure that regular consultations with Malagasy women and their organizations will take place during their mission to Madagascar;
* ensure the equal participation of Malagasy women and their organizations in the process for the resolution of the crisis, as well as in the subsequent political processes, including elections.
In solidarity with women in Madagascar, we stand ready to support the efforts of the African Union Commission towards a peaceful resolution of the political crisis, and the achievement of our common goal of ensuring that the values and principles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights will be translated into reality in the lives of all African women and men.