Home Governance ABIC Launches Women Situation Room…Ahead of October Polls

ABIC Launches Women Situation Room…Ahead of October Polls

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By T.R Dixon

MONROVIA: With 41 days toward the conduct of the 10, October, 2023, Presidential and Legislative elections, Angie Brooks International Centre for Women Empowerment, Leadership Development, International peace and Security (ABIC), on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, officially launched the “Women Situation Room (WSR),” in an endeavor to reduce cases of violence in the pending elections.

The WSR is a women-led approach to prevent and reduce violence during the elections.

The WSR is also a real-time and progressive process that works with communities in advocating, mediating and intervening in violent and tense situations.

According to the WSR organizers, situations could differ in individual countries, so the concept is adaptable to suit local conditions.

As a result of its demonstrated effectiveness in preventing and mitigating elections-related violence in Liberia, the WSR was adopted as a best practice in Africa at the African Union Summit in January 2012.

The WSR observers, who are mobilized to hotspots, have contributed immensely to resolving reported electoral violence incidents or threats in real-time.

As a result, several countries have established the WSRs, seeking to reduce cases of elections related violence and sexual violence, and increase the number of women in electoral processes.

Speaking at the launch of the WSR, the head of the Angie Brooks International (ABIC), Liberia Chapter, Yvette Chesson-Wureh, noted that Electoral violence of any kind can deter citizens from voting, discourages candidates from running for office, weakens civil society’s scrutiny of elections, and hurts the legitimacy of a government.

Cllr. Chesson-Wureh added that often, women and girls are affected by acts of intimidation and harassment as well as violence and lawlessness.

She expressed the belief that the pervasive human rights, socio-economic, health, and political inequalities that disproportionately affect women and girls impede Africa’s efforts to achieve transformative and sustainable socio-economic development.

According to Cllr. Chesson-Wureh, the operation of the WSR in 2011 when former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was running for a second six-year constitutional term were appreciated by many stakeholders.
The WSR, she stated, is a women-led approach to prevent and reduce violence during electoral processes and that in some countries, it assumes a conflict management approach in post-election periods.

According to her, several countries have established the WSR, which seeks to reduce cases of violence and sexual violence, and increase the number of women in electoral processes – either as voters, candidates, supporters or observers during elections.

“It is no secret that violence during an election cycle is an all-too-frequent phenomenon in most African countries, where it may be triggered by political or ethnic tensions, or flawed electoral processes,” she said.

She noted that elections in some African countries are often marked by violence, which ranges from low-level intimidation and harassment to more intense violent displacement and death.
She told the gathering that, the WSR, which is the brainchild of Liberia, has reached other African countries with the objective of promoting Peace void of political and other undue influences.
Madam Chesson-Wureh indicated that, some of the countries include Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and others.

Following the 2011 elections in Liberia, the WSR format has since been successfully replicated in Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

The Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC), is an outcome of the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security held in 2009 in Monrovia, Liberia. The event was co-convened by President Tarja Halone of Finland and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

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