“We call for a SADC led peace process in the Eastern DRC to be guided by local communities, and oriented towards addressing the root causes of the conflict and to ensure long term stability,” they say.
They also demand that SADC takes the necessary measures to “address xenophobia and the ill-treatment of DRC nationals and other victims of military conflict, climate change and internal displacement in Southern Africa.”
In Zimbabwe, the CSO officials say the leadership of the Southern African regional bloc needs to intervene “to resolve the shrinking civic and democratic space, political violence and proposed restrictive legislation.”
“We urge SADC to deploy an observer mission to Zimbabwe to assess and monitor the human rights situation before the 2023 harmonized election,” they say.
They also call on the Zimbabwean government to reverse the introduction into law of the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Amendment Bill saying it is repressive as it threatens the existence of CSOs and other voices.
(Story continues below)
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In their statement circulated August 28, the CSO officials have also called on SADC leaders to address climate justice, gender equality, and food security in the nations.
“We urge SADC leaders to ensure the resilience of food systems in the SADC region by investing in sustainable agriculture and rural development, with an emphasis on agroecological initiatives, as anchors for improved food availability and household purchasing power,” they say.
They add referencing gender equality, “We further reiterate our call for Governments in the SADC region to implement the ‘zebra principle’ of equal representation between men and women in decision making processes.”
The CSO officials also call upon SADC member states to “provide financing for income generating projects to women and girls to curtail prostitution and Gender Based Violence (GBV).
On climate justice, the CSO officials say SADC leaders need to “commit to engendered, rights focused and people centered actions to help poor and vulnerable groups in the Region to address climate adaptation challenges and increasing losses and damages.”
They also urge governments in the SADC region to collectively engage global leaders “for increased loss damaging finance” at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) scheduled for November 6-18 in Egypt.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.