Somali women wrapped up a peace forum in Mogadishu on Thursday evening by resolving to embrace peace, reconciliation and prevent violent extremism.

The UN-backed Women’s Peace Forum which brought together hundreds of women from Galmudug, Puntland, South West, Jubbaland and HirShabelle states and Benadir region, saw participants recommit to advance peace efforts and defeat extremist elements in the Horn of Africa nation.

“Women really want to have peace; and to have reconciliation is also very important. As women, when it comes to reconciliation, we are not in there,” said Fartun Abdisalam Adan, Director of Elman Peace and Human Rights Foundation, according to a statement issued by the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Abdisalam stressed the importance of women taking a front seat in reconciliation efforts in the Horn of African nation.

“When it comes to reconciliation, women might just talk, but we are never involved. This is certainly a new beginning for Somali women to really be part of the reconciliation and to actually have peace in Somalia,” she said.

The forum is a culmination of four months of national consultations to determine ways and strategies to enhance women’s role in peace, reconciliation and the prevention of violent extremism consistent with the national prevention and countering violent extremism (PCVE) strategy and national reconciliation framework.

During the forum, the women discussed ways of preventing and countering violent extremism, women’s role in it, and strategies that would enhance women’s participation in peace, security and reconciliation efforts.

Peter de Clercq, deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator who closed the forum stressed the vital role of Somali women in securing and maintaining sustained peace in Somalia. He stressed however, that their role in making peace often goes unrecognized.

De Clercq said the Somali women play a key role in supporting their families and communities and keeping the society together during conflict.

“However, women are often excluded from the formal peace processes; their role in peacebuilding, as peace-makers and agents of change is not fully recognized, hence the importance of this Forum as a step toward ensuring women have a place at the table,” he added.

He also reiterated that the United Nations will continue to support initiatives of women to materialize the commitments and decisions of this Forum.

Participants underscored the important role women play in the prevention, mediation and resolution of conflicts. Enditem

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