Madagascar: African Feminist Forum statement on bloodshed and political crisis
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;
• to ensure that regular consultations with Malagasy women and their organizations will take place during their mission to Madagascar;
• to 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.
15 February, 2009
African Feminist Forum