‘Peace cannot be achieved without women’s rights’

Chief Kachindamoto

Lilongwe, 21st September 2018: Malawi joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Peace in Lilongwe on 20th September 2018 under the theme Right to Peace. 

In partnership with the Malawi Government, Chancellor College, and other stakeholders, the United Nations converged high-level and community women in politics, business, faith, public service, uniform, academia and law to discuss their contributions to peace in their communities.

The women spoke out and made a declaration to acknowledge their current role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions as well as promoting peace and tolerance during and after elections to sustain Malawi’s peace, democracy and development. Their discussions focused on inclusive institutions, justice for all and peaceful co-existence, underlining the point that a peaceful society is one where there is justice and equality for everyone. Peace enables an environment for sustainable development to take shape and sustainable development helps to promote peace.

Participants at the commemoration of the International Day of Peace in a group photo.

One of the main outcomes of the commemoration was the signing of the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration. The following is the text of the declaration:

Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration

“Peace cannot be realized without women’s rights”

The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st September. The day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the roles of individuals, communities and organizations in contributing towards peaceful societies in the active pursue of SDG 16.

On this year’s commemoration, we the delegates to the International Day of Peace meeting 2018, representing a cross-section of women in Malawi from diverse sectors, ethnicities, ages, cultures and religions, have met at Bingu International Conference Centre to join hands with the rest of the world in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “The Right to Peace

Guided by the African Union Vision: “The Agenda 2063” which reads; “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in international arena”, we hereby sign this Declaration to mark our commitment to peace and to call upon all stakeholders in Malawi to enhance and sustain peace.

As peace cannot be achieved without the active participation of women in society, today we acknowledge the contribution made by women in Malawi towards peaceful coexistence and gender equality in pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Goal 5 – Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.

We recall the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948); The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi (1994), The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979); the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (1993) which emphasise the importance of upholding women’s rights.

We are committed to promoting SDGs 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and SDG 5: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and girls by contributing to initiatives that enhance peaceful coexistence and gender equality. We recognize the importance of contributing to promote inclusive societies that are safe and violent-free spaces for women at all levels of society.

Finally, we pledge using our efforts to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions that will contribute to the creation of a safe and inclusive Malawi for sustainable peace, democracy and development.

Flying of balloons as part of celebrating women’s roles in promoting peace in Malawi.

Flying of balloons as part of celebrating women’s roles in promoting peace in Malawi.

First Lady Madam Prof. Gertrude Mutharika speaking on ensuring next generation lives in peace.

Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia addressing the audience.

UN Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres addresses the audience.

First Lady Madame Prof. Gertrude Mutharika signs the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration at the commemoration.

UN Resident Coordinator Ms Maria Jose Torres signs the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration at the commemoration.

Diplomatic Community Representative, Japanese Ambassador Kae Yanagisawa and Faith Community Representative Bishop Rose Mbewe sign the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration at the commemoration.

Representative of the Civil Society and Aid Malawi Country Director Grace Malera signs the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration at the commemoration.

Representative of Women in Business Ms. Grace Kalolo signs the Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration at the commemoration.

High Court Judge Justice Zione Ntaba holds the signed declaration

Lilongwe International Peace Day Declaration

Dr. Ngeyi Kanyongolo of Chancellor College (middle) leading a discussion on inclusive institutions. The panel included Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia, Mchinji District Commissioner Ms. Rosemary Nawasha, Commissioner of Police Ms. Effie Kaitano and Senior Chief Madam Theresa Kachindamoto

Dr. Ngeyi Kanyongolo of Chancellor College (L), Mchinji District Commissioner Ms. Rosemary Nawasha and Commissioner of Police Ms. Effie Kaitano

Senior Chief Madam Theresa Kachindamoto (L) and Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia on the panel.

Chief Director of Public Sector Reforms Management in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Seodi White, contributing to the discussion.

Youth Peace Forum Representative Ms. Enelless Pemba (1L), and Member of Parliament and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health Hon. Juliana Lunguzi on the panel discussing the subject of peaceful coexistence.

Representative of Women in Business Ms. Grace Kalolo (R) and South African High Commissioner Ms Thenjiwe Mtintso on the panel discussing the subject of peaceful coexistence.

Advisor to the President on Gender Affairs Ms. Clara Makungwa (1L), Academia representative Dr. Chrissy Muyeriwa and High Court Judge Justice Zione Ntaba on the panel discussing justice for all.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Malawi Chapter Teresa Ndanga (R) and Representative of the Civil Society and Action Aid Malawi Country Director Grace Malera on the panel discussing justice for all.

Some of the participants at the commemoration.

Some of the participants at the commemoration celebrating the day.

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