At the 13th Annual Africa Liberal Network (ALN) General Assembly, Africa’s largest political network adopted the flagship Nairobi Declaration condemning the common practice of violence against women on the continent and committing the Network’s members to working stringently to eliminate gender-based violence in their home countries.
The full Declaration can be found HERE.
Acknowledging that violence against women remains one of the most widespread forms of human rights violations, the ALN has committed to working with their partners in Liberal International (LI) and liberal parties across the world, in opposition and in government, to condemn and eliminate gender-based violence.
The Network’s members agreed to promote and, where in government, implement policies to secure women’s access to education – the single most effective method of empowerment – as well as working with judicial branches and police forces to ensure the effective protection of women from acts of violence.
The declaration also commits ALN members to working to bring more women into public life and politics, believing strongly that we can only eliminate violence against women when women are comfortable taking over leadership roles.
The Nairobi Declaration comes at a particularly poignant moment as this year’s host party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) faces parliamentary and presidential elections later this year. In Kenya, women often face intimidation during elections and there have been widespread incidents of physical and verbal intimidation against female candidates at party primaries and during campaigning in the past. Working with the UK Liberal Democrats, the ALN has been running a campaign of support for women running on the ODM ticket in the upcoming elections. This began with a workshop in February 2017 for twenty outstanding women running in the party’s internal primaries to represent ODM in key seats in the August election.
Rosemary Machua, ALN Vice President for East Africa and a Director of the ODM, said:
“African politics remains overwhelmingly the work of men. Women continue to face hurdles when engaging the democratic process, from their families, their communities and from the men at the top of the political tree.
“I am delighted that the ALN has acknowledged the unique challenges women face and the horrifying prevalence of gender-based violence. I look forward to working with the member parties on exposing violence in their home countries and supporting more women to enter into public life.”
Stevens Mokgalapa MP, newly-elected ALN President and DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation in South Africa, said:
“I am proud that my first action as President is to endorse this declaration which commits the Network to taking the serious problem of violence against women – in all its forms – head on. It is unacceptable for liberals to stand by while over half of the population still suffers from discrimination and, in many cases, violence.
The ALN pledges today to work on ourselves, by striving to bring in more women into our own processes, whilst strongly, passionately, and loudly protesting poor treatment of women across the African continent.”
Markus Loening, Chairman of the Liberal International (LI) Human Rights Committee and LI Vice-President, said:
“This fundamental document represents an important step towards the empowerment of women and it testifies to the ongoing commitment by the African liberal family to gender equality.
“As we look forward to strengthen the cooperation between Liberal International (LI), its Human Rights Committee and the Africa Liberal Network, I sincerely hope that this Declaration will serve to solidify the efforts of liberals to speak with one voice when it comes to promotion and advancement of human rights.”
The ALN General Assembly met in Nairobi, Kenya from 23-24 March 2017. Delegates from over 40 liberal parties from across the continent met to discuss the major issues facing their countries and the wider continent and to share their experiences of campaigning, governing and scrutinising governments in Africa.