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News: Women-led civil societies in Ethiopia call for sustained dialogue with armed groups, inclusion of women in peace talks

Women-led civil society groups urge inclusion of women in peace talks with armed group (Photo: Adoye Center for Ethiopian Women Empowerment)

Addis Abeba – A group of Women-led and women-based Civil Society Organizations in Ethiopia have called for sustained negotiations between the government the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), and commencement of talks with other armed groups in the country.

In a joint presser on Wednesday, more than a dozen civil society organizations said despite armed conflicts “disproportionately affecting women”, the exclusion of women from the Pretoria negotiation and the two rounds of talks in Tanzania, is a matter of “great concern”. 

The organizations, Community Empowerment for Local Development (CELD), Adoye Center for Ethiopian Women Empowerment, Fratello Humanitarian Association and Birmaji Youth Association, among others, urged inclusion of women in negotiations and as implementing partners and beneficiaries should an agreement be reached.

“We demand the inclusion of women in all dialogues, negotiations, and decisions that will shape the future of our country and impact the lives of our girls and women,” the statement noted. 

The civil society groups appreciated ongoing efforts by the government and OLA, to resolve the conflict that caused “extensive damage to our people” through peaceful negotiations, and affirmed their support to its success. 

They called for swift resumption of talks between the government and OLA and urged the government “to take the lead in engaging all armed groups within the country to put an end to the suffering of our people once and for all”.

Responding to questions raised by members of the House of People’s Representatives during the house’s 14th regular session on Tuesday, PM Abiy Ahmed expressed his government’s “readiness to engage in dialogue” with all dissenting armed groups if they lay down their weapons and show willingness to talk.

Two rounds of talks to end the five-year militarized conflict in Oromia region between government forces and forces of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) often referred to as “Shane” by the government ended without agreement. AS

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