The Director of Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice, the Rev. Dr. Lydia Mwaniki attended a training on Women’s Human Rights Advocacy for Faith-Based Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 4 to 9 July, 2016. The training was organized by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC). It gathered 46 participants from 28 countries in different parts of the world.
The aim of the workshop was to educate the participants working with Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) on the international legal instruments on gender justice such as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. This would make these instruments accessible to the participants, who would in turn use them as tools for advocacy and as well hold their governments and institutions accountable for gender justice and defense of women’s rights.
Participants were taught how to integrate gender analysis and Rights-Based approach in advocacy for women’s human rights. The Rights-Based approach enables advocacy work to be human-rights based. In order to use this tool, one must know human rights norms and principles. Since the main objective of human rights advocacy is the realization of human rights, the process and outcomes must be human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination. It is upon members of each nation to hold their nations, which have signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights accountable, if these rights are violated.
In the course of the training, participants had discussions with CEDAW Committee members. They also participated in the 64th session of CEDAW at the UN "Palais des Nations" to familiarize themselves with how the Committee holds individual governments accountable for gender discrimination. In that session, the government of Myanmar was being questioned by the Committee about a report on gender injustice which had been submitted to them by women of Myanmar. Members of each continent met separately and discussed how they would take the training further at a continental level.
The Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice Department intends to:
- Collaborate with other stakeholders to hold a side-event on Gender Based Violence (GBV) during the AU Summit in January 2017.
- Organize a similar advocacy workshop for women leaders in AACC constituency to empower them to engage with AU using the Maputo Protocol as a tool to hold local/national authorities accountable.
- Develop a biblical and theological basis of the legal instruments to break barriers between secular human rights and biblical teachings, and as reference points by FBOs in their advocacy work.
- Develop AACC Gender Policy.