WHAT: Sudanese women’s rights activist Alaa Salah addresses the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security today on behalf of the women of Sudan, six months after the historic transition and women’s leadership in Sudan made international headlines.
The photo of Alaa leading protests helped bring the movement to the world’s attention. Her full remarks, embargoed until the conclusion of her delivery can be found here. Other women’s rights leaders and activists from around the world, including Sudan, Colombia and more are also gathered in New York to collectively push the international community to respect women’s rights, ensure space for women to lead, and address women’s calls for peace. Quotes from another longtime Sudanese activist from Darfur, Safaa Elagib Adam Ayoub, Colombian land rights activist Magaly Belalcázar Ortega, and Oxfam’s WPS expert Anna Tonelli are also included below.
WHEN: Alaa Salah addresses the UNSC Open Debate on Women, Peace & Security this morning – the event is streamed at http://webtv.un.org/. The full delegation is in New York City through Saturday, with some continuing on to Washington next week.
Safaa Elagib Adam Ayoub is a peace and gender activist, Secretary General of the Community Development Association for Sudan and member of the Taskforce for the Engagement of Women: “Women want to be valued stakeholders, not victims or symbols of the revolution. Meaningful participation is critical, which means 50% participation at least at all levels, coupled with the necessary recognition and support. It is not a matter of only stopping war or reaching a ceasefire - We want to make sure that women in conflict zones are protected, that women can move freely, and reach their farms without fear of rape or violence, that they can watch their children go to school safely. We want more space and participation and the chance to be dignified as human beings.”
Magaly Belalcázar Ortega, a leader of the Women’s Platform of Caquetá, Colombia: “Since 2016 over 50 women land defenders in Colombia have been killed by paramilitary gangs, military forces, guerrillas and others. The Government of Colombia refuses to protect us, saying they do not have the capacity. We are in New York this week to directly address the international community to demand justice and protection for these brave women who protect the land with their bodies every day. Women defending rights are more threatened now, but we cannot be just data. We must be more specific to recognize who we are and the women we have lost. When a woman activist is killed, it is not only her rights that are violated – it is those of her family, her community and the very earth she was protecting.”
Oxfam, as part of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, is proud to host women leaders this week. Anna Tonelli, Oxfam’s Senior Policy Advisor on Inclusive Peace and Security: "Every single day, women are on the front lines defending and demanding peace. This week gives us the opportunity to raise their voices and demands - that their rights to participate, to lead and to be safe are recognized. Women are here in New York to demand their rightful, equal place at decision making table at all levels and throughout the entire transition process in their countries – we must see this happen if we want to see a safe, peaceful and prosperous future."