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Women and transitional government

18 October 2005
The Lusaka Agreement signed in 1999 between the parties involved in the DRC conflict foresaw the inter Congolese dialogue in order to settle the internal dimensions of the Congolese crisis.  Five components were parties to these political negotiations.  It is within this framework that Congolese women organised themselves in a Caucus to ensure their full implication in the DRC peace process.

Various individuals, men and women, considered the work of the Caucus as insignificant, distractive or even useless at the beginning of the ICD; many had revised their opinion at the end of the process and started to seriously consider women’s activities and concerns.  

The Caucus initiated a series of meetings and discussions with the leaders of the different components with the ultimate objective to sensitise them to a “gender” approach in the resolutions of the ICD. Defending women’s rights, women has consistently advocated vis a vis the components and entities of the ICD for the respect of democratic principles in their respective political organisations, and for the assurance of equal representation of men and women.  Thus the women demanded the establishment of a 30% quota of women’s representation in the transitional institutions.

The Caucus also underlined the discrimination to which women are subjected in the current peace process and raised the consciousness of men in order to take the gender dimension into account in the transitional phase.  

However, despite all these efforts, the results were poor concerning women representation in the transitional government.

The Congolese woman had to build new strategies to achieve their objective many synergy actions were organized:

-  Coalition building, a task force with UN agency and international and regional NGO was created.

-  Workshop to strengthen the capacities in negotiation techniques and advocacy was organised….

They requested the integration of a gender perspective not only in the negotiations but also in the reestablishment of peace and in the reconstruction of the DRC.  Thus, in their contacts with authorities women consistently advocated for the transitional constitution of the DRC to guarantee women’s rights, in citing the international terms and conventions such as the CEDEF and resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council.

The big achievement was the article 131 of the transitional constitution which guaranties the non discrimination.

When the new Constitution was drafted, Congolese women had to struggle again to make sure that the new constitution includes gender aspects, because they wanted to put progressive gender integration. The women organised themselves again and lobbied to have parity in the New Constitution. The Constitutional reforms define equal political rights between women and men without discrimination in it's 4th article. Right now the women are struggling again, demanding that the Electoral law enshrines the concept of the equal rights for all citizens to elect and to be elected. So they are organising many actions of advocacy with gouvernement, Presidential space, partis in order to have the electoral proposing the closed and coded list to ensure that women are on board.

National consultations and major work shop was held to:
Deepen understanding of isues related to elections,
to create awareness  on intenational communities and provide a forum for exchange
to identify the gaps and assess capacity building needs for women in the area of elections.

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