African leaders have let African women down - Oxfam' s reaction to the AU Summit

Published: 11th February 2020

In response to the final remarks made at the 33rd African Union Summit, Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam's Pan Africa Director said:  

 “While we are encouraged by the Chair statements and the Summit deliberations, Oxfam believes that African leaders have let African women down, in their effort to end the conflict and find a peaceful resolution to years of brutality and violence that ripped the continent. Women needed more than mere empty promises, but commitments to ensure effective steps to grant them equal powers to indefinitely silence the guns.”

Conflict is devastating the whole of Africa, but women more than men bear the brunt of conflict. They are the ones most impacted by conflict whether driven out of their home, subjected to food and water shortages and often sexually exploited in conflict. In the Central African Republic (CAR) for example, gender-based violence is reported every 60 minutes, with 92 percent of victims are women and girls. 

Marina Gnatho, Oxfam’s CAR feminist partner and member of “I Londo Awè” - one of the organizations represented at the Summit said: “We welcome the efforts of Ambassador Smail chergui to support our legitimate demands of equal voices in building peace. But we urge African leaders to implement the 50% quota to the seats in the composition of the justice, truth and reconciliation Commission. We cannot realize the aspirations of the agenda of 2063 without ensuring women are equally represented in every decision made, from the national to the inter-regional level.”

No peace can be achieved without women. To tackle Africa’s deadliest crises, women must be heart and center of every peace process. Research is telling us that globally when women participate in peace processes the resulting agreement is 35% more likely to last for more than 15 years, added Kamalingin.

We call upon all  African citizens to hold their governments accountable to the commitments they made at the Summit to put in place mechanisms for ensuring compliance. We also urge African leaders to honour their commitments towards gender equality and ensure that women have an equal voice in times of war and most importantly in building peace and transforming conflict, says Kamalingin.


We urge African leaders to implement the 50% quota to the seats in the composition of the justice, truth and reconciliation Commission.

Marina Gnatho
I Londo Awè

Notes to editors

* Oxfam's report highlights the under-recognized but crucial role South Sudanese women played in the country's most recent national-level peace processes. The report, titled “Our Search for Peace: Women in South Sudan’s National Peace Processes” and released by Oxfam together with Born to Lead and UN Women, demonstrates how, for years, South Sudanese women have worked hard to build peace in the country.

Contact information

To arrange for spokespersons please contact

Joyous A.L. Begisen, Media and Communications Lead, Oxfam International - Pan Africa Program
Cell: +254 701 849 522
Skype: begisenjoyous

For more updates, please follow @Oxfam or @OxfamPanAfrica