Namibia: Welcoming Remarks at the Launch of the International Women's Peace Centre

Netumbo N. Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
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Remarks by the Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia; H.E. Nangolo Mbumba, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia; Rt. Honorable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila , Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia; Members of Parliament ; Members of the Diplomatic Corp; Senior Government Officials ; Director of Ceremonies; Members of the media; Ladies and Gentlemen

At the onset, I thank H.E. Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia for having accepted to officially open the International Women's Peace Centre. In the same vein, I would like to thank him for delegating H.E. Nangolo Mbumba, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia to represent him at this joyous occasion marking the 20th anniversary of the landmark United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 and the official launch of the International Women's Peace Centre. Your Excellency Vice President you are very much welcome and hope the few hours with us will be fruitful. In the same vein, I welcome all of you present, and all those following virtually.

When Namibia was campaigning to join the Security Council back in 1999, we were determined to make a positive and lasting contribution to international peace. At that time, Namibia had only been independent for 9 years, and our experience in the liberation struggle certainly informed the decision to pursue progressive policies for the maintenance of world peace. Hence our focus on the issue of women and peace

It was in May 2000, when Namibia hosted a workshop to mark 10 years of the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG). The workshop focused on the multi-dimensional peace support operation and reflected on the growing awareness of the role women can play in peace and security following the Beijing Conference.

The Windhoek Declaration on mainstreaming a gender perspective in multi-dimensional peace support operation, adopted at the May 2000 Workshop became the base to pursue a discussion at the level of the Security Council on Women and Peace. After passing all the hurdles, the issue of women and peace was put on the agenda of the UN SC and on the 31st October 2000 UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security was adopted under the Presidency of Namibia. Within the framework of the UNSCR1325, for the first time the international community has realised the important role women can play in the peace process at all levels as appose to them just considered as victims of violence and conflict

Your Excellencies

In celebrating the important anniversary of UNSCR1325 and as we take stock of the progress made, we recognize that there is still much more to be done. Namibia has therefore heard the call for action. Considering the importance we attach to UNSCR 1325, and considering it's origin and our effort to con and strengthen regional and international innovation to advance the implementation of Women Peace and Security Agenda, Namibia has decided to establish an International Women's Peace Centre (IWPC). During the 3rd Meeting of the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network that took place in Windhoek in April 2019, when Namibia's idea was announced the reaction of participants was encouraging.

The International Women's Peace Centre intends to become an institute of excellence for mediation, inclusive peacemaking and conflict prevention to support and ensure that women's contributions within Namibia, Southern Africa, Africa and globally, are given necessary tools to contribute positively to humanity's fate. The centre will focus, amongst others, on research aspects of mediation and negotiations, as well as capacity building by providing workshops, and supporting women on issues related to gender-based violence during conflict and post conflict.

It will also serve as an orientation centre for newly appointed peacekeepers before deployment.

The Centre will also enhance new conceptual thinking and develop applicable frameworks to measure women's influence, beyond numeric participation and representation in peace processes. Its key activities would be Advocacy on Women, Peace and Security, Networking and partnerships; and Research, Training and Capacity Building.

Regionally the centre will contribute to fostering intellectual collaboration among countries on women's rights, influence and gender equality in the context of peace and security, as well as to developing institutional and individual capacities to promote effective implementation of legal instruments and political commitments with regard to women's rights, influence and gender equality in the context of peace, security and disarmament.

The launch of the IWPC comes at a time when Gender-Based-Violence (GBV) has reached intolerable levels in many parts of the World and Namibia is not an exception. One fails to understand what has gone wrong with our societies nowadays. Gender-Based Violence or Domestic Violence and body harming crimes have increased. And all these violent actions are perpetrated by human beings against one another. The human species is at war with itself.

Women and children are living in constant fear as they don't know who their next attracter is.

Women and girls and in particular adolescent girls continue to experience sexual and gender based violence, teenage pregnancies, restrictive socio-cultural norms limiting full exercise of human and women's rights. Of particular concern is the sexual and gender based violence against women and girls as such violence is committed by both non-partners and partners.

I guess it is worsened by a lack of education and awareness on the dangers post by SGBV. If a child is forced to run away from adults,…… then who will make them to be useful citizens, and bring out their full potential to be assertive and contribute to the development of the country.

Sensitization of the world to make civic education as one of the priorities. We have to be responsible to ourselves and others.

There is also growing tendency among the young generation to deviate from the naturally set societal norms, standards and values. Imagine a mother slashing the throat of her own daughter or son. Are we really unable to control our emotions? Something serious needs to be done

I call on the IWPC to, as a matter of priority, conduct thorough research on the status of Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence considering that absence of war does not guarantee peace. And instability in a Community can lead to war. The research should thoroughly analyse the root causes of Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Violence as well as the status of moral decay in a society may take us to the point of developing comprehensive action to address those challenge.

Your excellencies

UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions remain critical to asserting the fundamental roles of women in peace processes. Thus our Government remains fully committed to the full and effective implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 and to ensure that the rights of women and children are promoted and protected.

At this juncture, I would like to thank H.E. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations for his remarks to be delivered via video-message, Botswana Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation who is the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation for sending us a message …. Appreciation also goes to our local and international partners, civil society and other stakeholders who have given us and continue to give us their valuable support in this important initiative.

This International Women's Peace Centre is also a clear reflection of our policy on International Relations as per Article 96 of the Namibian Constitution. It does not belong to somebody it belongs to all of us. Without peace no development and with no development no peace.

On behalf of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation I welcome you all to this event. I thank you

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