By Ndey Sowe
The Gambia has on Thursday, 31st October 2019 hosted a forum on “Women’s Peace Table” for The Gambia to contribute to the process of peace building in Casamance.
The event is the 4th edition initiated by the Women’s Forum for Peace in Casamance (PFPC) and its partners have agreed to organize a women’s peace table for the first time in the Gambia, aimed at the key actors involved in the social cohesion and reconciliation process in The Gambia, and the peacebuilding process in Casamance.
This event is part of the activities marking the International Day of Peace under the theme: “The Proactive Actions of the Peace and Security Forum in the Senegal-Gambia-Guinea Bissau Zone”. The forum is also geared towards promoting stability, peace, and security in The Gambia and Senegal as well as informing all active forces about the peacebuilding process among other things.
Speaking at the event, Hannah Foster Executive Director of African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies said the event is a subset of the working group on women on peace and security in West Africa.
“In conflicts, women and children suffer the most”, she said. She added that these countries share common things, she described the forum as a success, saying it aims to contribute in maintaining peace within the sub-region.
According to her, the presence of the defense minister demonstrated the commitment of Gambia Government’s commitment on peace maintenance in the country as well as the sub-region.
Sheikh Omar Faye, Minister of Defense described the sub-region as one family, noting that the people of these countries share many things in common.
According to him, maintenance of peace is a collective responsibility for the entire masses, while saying the Gambian President is well committed to the maintenance of peace and stability in the country.
He unveiled that recently, the head of state had assigned him to meet and discuss with military officers to be apolitical and execute their function in maintaining peace.
Faye recalled that this organisation had played a crucial role during the country’s political standoff. In The Gambia. He said he is concerned about the conflict in the Casamance region, saying that the Gambia Government will make effort in turning the southern Senegal region into a peaceful zone.
He called on development partners to speed up in empowering and promoting women organisations so as to contribute immensely to maintaining peace in the sub-region.
Madam Ndeye Marie Thiam, President Women’s Forum for Peace in Casamance (PFPC) said the sub-regional countries are geographically linked and share many things in common.
She said the forum is a mechanism to dialogue with stakeholders to bring peace within the sub-region, while calling on The Gambia to engage them so as to consolidate peace within the sub-region.
Other speakers included Maria Da Conceicao Ferreira representative of Guinea Bissau Women Political Platform (PPMGB), Moussa Sow correspondent USAID among other people.