Closing the Gap in Sexual Violence Response in the Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region continues to experience conflicts and a state of fragility despite the numerous frameworks on peace and security. In March, regional women’s organizations met in Kinshasa, DRC to review implementation progress of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Declaration on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

Isis-WICCE shared information on the women, peace and security frameworks in Uganda such as the development of National and district Action Plans, enacting new laws and the zero tolerance to SGBV campaign. This included the experience of forming a Women’s Taskforce to ensure a a gender responsive Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) for Northern Uganda.

Most ICGLR governments have made significant strides to fulfill their commitments by developing policies and laws to prevent SGBV, punish perpetrators and support survivors. Glaring gaps remain, particularly in funding of activities, regional and national coordination and leadership, governance systems and structures, tracking lessons learnt, data collection, reporting and accountability as well as growing militarization..

The group of women’s organizations called on governments to fulfill their commitments with required funding for response and prevention activities as well as domesticating and implement necessary protocols. These include the Protocol on Non-aggression and Mutual Defense, the Protocol on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children as well as the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation. The meeting also called for more accountability by monitoring and engaging mainstream peace and security structures at all levels.

The representative of the Office of the Special Envoy for women, peace and security at the African Union Commission also urged governments to deliver on their commitments.