Senegal: Christiane Johnson

Why I engage in peace efforts? The bible gives the answer: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" (Luke 23:34)

— Christiane Johnson

A doctor and dental surgeon, Christiane Agboton Johnson is an inveterate follower of peace. She is enthusiastic and deeply humane. Born in Benin 50 years ago, she now lives in in Dakar, Senegal, with her three children whose father died some time ago.

Christiane Agboton Johnson, president of Malao said once in a conference: “Indeed, women are often to be found at the origin of initiatives for reconciliation, mediation, and conflict resolution, even if they do not show up at the negotiation table. In peace negotiations as in declarations of war, men are more numerous than women. This is where the link between women as builders of peace and the struggle against small arms becomes evident. These so-called light weapons have killed more than four million people in the last ten years. They have become the instrument of choice in most armed conflicts, and the UN Secretary General has rightly described them as weapons of mass destruction. After wars, they are the tools of banditry, crime, and conjugal violence. Hence, women can no longer limit themselves to repairing the damage caused by conflict, as in humanitarian action, demobilisation, and reintegration. Today, they are obliged to wage an additional battle, the one to eliminate light weapons.” If Christiane had the idea of launching MALAO, it is because she heard countless times the crackling of firearms in Africa due to the trafficking of arms. She is a doctor, but, she is known in Africa and elsewhere as a peace campaigner. With MALAO, she works on all sites of peace in West Africa. The movement is active in the fight against small arms and light weapons, for security, peace, and development, and opted very early on to include gender considerations in the carrying out of its programmes, especially in Casamance, a region in constant insecurity in southern Senegal.

Mouvement contre les Armes Légères en Afrique de l’Ouest (MALAO) Réseau d’Action sur les Armes Légères en Afrique de l’Ouest (RASALAO) International Action Network Against Small Arms (IANSA)