Whither The Women of the Congo
Beyond any doubt the women of the Congo have been the primary victims of the instability and conflict that the country has experienced for the past 15 years. Congolese women have been striving to overcome remarkable hardships and tremendous suffering. Probably more than any sector of the Congolese society, the women seek fundamental a radical change. However, as we embark upon the November 28th elections, women appear to have been sidelined. Unlike 2006, no women are represented among the 11 candidates. Overall, there is a 20% drop in the participation of female candidates and a 12% drop in the female electorate.
Although, there has been a decrease in the participation of women in the elections, this does not mean that women are absent from the effort to assure a peaceful and fair election. On October 18th, the women of the Great Lakes Sub-Region issued a declaration that called for preventive diplomacy with the objective of realizing durable peace and security before, during and after the elections.
The women representing Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Congo called on the Congolese government to pay special attention to the role of women in the electoral process. Regarding the international community, they requested the establishment of an election monitoring system in the subregion as well as support for women in the electoral process.
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