A three-day workshop on human rights, crisis management and peace building opened yesterday, to among others enhance the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CBOs) in the right-based approach to peace building in Africa.
The workshop organised by the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), on the theme; 'Building a Culture of Sustainable Peace, Justice and conflict prevention in West Africa,' will also ensure stronger collaboration between human rights and peace building organisations for the promotion of lasting peace.
Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of WANEP, urged participants to share their experiences and lessons learnt in the three-year Justice Lens Programme (JLP) with other stakeholders, to ensure practicality and allow other countries such as Ghana to realise the importance of peace.
He explained that the workshop was intended to consolidate the work of WANEP in building the capacity of its members especially those in the Mano-River Union (MRU) made up of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and others, to intervene and prevent the escalation of early signs of conflicts.
About 22 participants from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana are participating in the workshop, which will also discuss skills to engage stakeholders in a constructive dialogue on issues reported as early warning.
Mr Bombande said since the end of the Cold War, enormous concerns have been raised by political commentators, scholars and human right activists about sustained violent conflicts in Africa.
He said, however, despite the various warning signs, governance failures articulated by responsive regimes, rent-seeking practices and weaker economic policies has produced some of the most violent conflicts the world has ever witnessed in the Mano-River Basin areas.
Mr Bombande said the West African Sub-Region has gone through a decade and a half of violent conflicts, whose root causes are linked among other factors to gross human rights violations.
Mr Takwa Z. Suifon, Director of Programmes, WANEP, said practical experiences in building sustainable peace, required the incorporation of human rights analysis that encompasses social, political, cultural, gender and economic factors that sometimes fuelled instability.
He said it has now become part of WANEP's practice to incorporate evident based early warning signs, embedded with action-oriented recommendations to decision and policy makers for response.
Mr Suifon said Ghana's forthcoming general election will provide participants a good practical basis for discussions and offer countries such as Cote d'Ivoire who's elections are billed for next year beneficial lessons to build upon ensuring their peace building and human rights to prevent conflict.