SADC empowers women warders for peace support

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Recognising the importance of women in the wider conflict and dispute area, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), arranged a workshop for female correctional officers in peacebuilding and peace support operations.

The workshop in Johannesburg is seen as part of the regional bloc’s ongoing efforts to address – and overcome – what a statement said is “minor political, security and economic challenges” threatening regional stability.

The workshop’s overall objective was to provide knowledge and expertise on conflict prevention through understanding and explaining factors that cause and trigger further breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism in correction/prison/penitentiary environments.

Participants discussed different approaches to working within the parameters of peace and security and achieve better compliance with international human rights standards in prisons as well as capacities of member states’ local and national mechanisms in efforts to resolve radicalisation and violent extremism according to the statement.

Mediation and peacebuilding officer Fabrice Tunda told the workshop the regional strategy on women, peace, and security (2022–2030) highlighted the important role female correctional officers have in countering violent extremism, reducing risk of radicalisation of prisoners and supporting peace support operations at regional level. He further stressed correctional service is a key component in peacebuilding and has a high role in security measures. If not well managed and well-equipped or facing lack of capacity and capabilities, there will be a potential for institutions to be breeding grounds for criminals, escalating to radicalisation and extremism in the SADC region.