30 January 2008

Kenya: Women Decry Exclusion From Annan Mediation Talks

Nairobi — Women have decried their exclusion from the ongoing mediation to end post-election violence.

The chairperson of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK), Ms Isabella Karanja, said Kenya had ignored the United Nations Security Council resolution that supports women's participation in mediation.

In 2000, the UN adopted resolution 1325, which stressed the importance of women's involvement as active agents of peace and security.

"We are over 50 per cent of the population, but we have been marginalised and now we are requesting for an audience," Karanja said.

Addressing journalists at a city hotel, Karanja said they were holding talks with the national steering committee on how they could be represented in the talks.

Former chairlady of the Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation, Mrs Zipporah Kittony, said women have been undervalued and under utilised in the ongoing mediation talks.

Kittony appealed to women in both ODM and PNU to set aside their differences and jointly call for cessation of violence.

"The crowds are hostile on the ground and as mothers we are appealing to all Kenyans to stop this violence," Kittony said.

She said it was an embarrassment for a country that had attained its independence 46 years ago to behave this way.

She said what took place since December 31 was difficult to comprehend, adding that the economy was declining.

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