WANEP warns against ethnic, religious intolerance

EzeThe West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) , has lauded Ghana for ensuring stability, democracy and tolerance, saying the country is a beacon of hope for West Africa.

Mr Chukwuemeka B. Eze, Executive Director of WANEP, who made the commendation, however, said the group was concerned about the current spate of ethnocentric politics as well as the seeming religious intolerance in schools in the country.

He said: “While we do not discountenance the court as a dispute resolution mechanism, such value-based issues are better resolved through dialogue and frank discussions,” and urged women to safeguard this exemplified democracy and peace.

He made the call on Friday in Accra, during a discussion on “The Role of Women in Countering Violent Extremism (CVE),” in commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).

Mr Eze said WANEP was focusing this year’s celebration on appreciating the contributions of women to CVE, and to strengthen deliberations on how to best improve upon their gains.

He explained that this had become necessary, especially at the time that the threat and menace of violent extremism continue to shorten the lives and future of girls and women, with some of them now being lured into the extremist groups as suicide bombers, strategists, cooks, and sex slaves, among other atrocities.

Mr Eze said “CVE practice has not sufficiently taken into cognisance, the three key interdependent variables that influence our actions and results namely; gender dynamics in violent extremism, women’s role in CVE initiatives, and how both violent extremism and CVE differently impact women and girls versus men and boys.”

“The pull and push factors that decoy people to violent extremism have yet presented a new dimension other than the so called poverty, mostly witnessed in Africa and other developing countries.”

Mr Eze said with the level of young, educated, rich background and elitist Western girls herding and itching to join extremist groups, no nation or region is immune to or can be spared “this ugly scourge and perhaps this might just be a wake-up call for collective and inclusive action.”

He said violent extremism could not be overcome through security measures alone, and advocated peace education, inter-faith programmes, and inclusive policies rooted in democratic and good governance.

Mr Alimou Diallo, WANEP Regional Co-ordinator, identified poverty, unresolved grievances such as injustices and lack of access to political processes, as ‘drivers’ of violent extremism.

The Head of Women, Peace and Security Institute at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre, Margaret Alexander Rehoboth, urged the media to support efforts aimed at the prevention of violent extremism.

The event was observed on the theme: ‘Make it Happen,’ which sought to encourage effective action for advancing and recognising the efforts, struggles and contributions of women to nation building.

Each year, the International Women’s Day is observed on March 8, and the first IWD was held in 1911. – GNA

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment