Abuja - Women, children and civilians are bearing the biggest brunt of the continent significant security threats and high levels of violence and human rights abuses, said panelists at the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa held in Abuja.
In particular, these are being used as instruments of conflict.
Panelists highlighted a lack of respect for human life as a fundamental problem that was leading to increased violence.
This is being compounded by the commercialization and erosion of traditional practices that once stabilized communities, but are now contributing to human rights abuses, particularly of women.
According to Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy at Amnesty International, South Africa, “Freedom of expression is an African right. We need to push our African leaders to speak out about transgressions committed by their fellow leaders.”
Poverty, inequality and lack of inclusion were also identified as key contributors to increasing conflict and radicalization as they create pockets of fragility that can be easily exploited.
Christine Musisi, Regional Director, United Nations Women East and Southern Africa, Kenya, concurred.
“Rapid growth that is not inclusive is irresponsible growth and it is not sustainable,” she said.
Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, said governments, particularly in post-conflict states, had a difficult time trying to balance the needs of investors in the resources sector and the communities that are affected by the exploitation of those resources.
Countries need investment to grow, but it is crucial to ensure that the growth is inclusive to avoid building up social tensions that present potential areas of future conflict.
“You need growth with a human face,” said Kamara. – CAJ News