Pre-AU Summit Multi-Stakeholders Debate: My Opening Remarks

” 2016: African Year of Human Rights”IMG_1885

Wednesday, 29th June, 2016 – Radisson Blu Hotel, Addis Ababa

 Excellencies, Ambassadors and Representatives of International Organizations,

Colleagues, Partners and Friends,

All protocols observed!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome!

It’s an honor and a pleasure for me on behalf of Oxfam, to welcome you to this Multi-Stakeholder discussion ahead of the 27th Summit of the African Union.

Our expectation is that this platform will allow us to analyze various policy options, expectations and, implications of the upcoming Summit outcomes.

The upcoming Summit is going to an interesting one ….not only because of the main theme of the year —- Human Rights with special focus on the rights of women … but also with regard to the other crucial issues on the agenda for the future of our continent and our Union.

Interestingly, 2016 is being marked by a serious decline on fundamental human rights in Africa with numerous violations of basic civil and political rights and a denial of the African Union “shared values” by a number of member states…. And the Summit itself being held far from the citizens, the right holders.

In Kigali, Heads of State and Government will have an interactive discussion, and… a solemn declaration will adopted on the theme as usual…

As a citizen of this continent, I have several questions, which I believe, are also shared by many other fellow citizens.

  • What shall we expect from Kigali?
  • Would this Summit come up with a strong and credible solution for the numerous HR violations in our continents? Torture to death of political leaders, harassment of opponents, denial of free and fair elections etc…
  • Would this Summit resolve the issue of financial dependency of the African Union from external partners? Would the African Union continue turning to partners to collect 70% of its budget?
  • Would the African passport ever get in the hand of ordinary citizens to allow them to move freely within the continent? Or, is it made only for leaders who, in fact do not need it?
  • What is the way forward to hold high ranked criminal accountable in Africa, now that the ICC is declared “non gratta” in our land while we still do not any functioning mechanism to hold accountable those who are freely killing our innocent people?
  • Who will champion discussions on electoral frauds and violence as well as unlimited presidential terms issues, knowing that if these issues are not resolved, violent conflicts will continue being our daily bread and our development plans including the Agendas 2063 /2030 will remain just “beautiful papers”.
  • Can we really convince the citizens of Burundi, South Sudan, DRC, Sudan, Western Sahara etc… that this is their Year of Human Rights?
  • How do we establish a credibility of the AU in terms of the implementation of its decisions?
  • What is the solution for our +5 Million refugees and +20 Million IDPs

Of course there are a few positive developments in our continent but looking to our challenges… we are rather on a slippery slope

Finally; Will the AUC election happened? Will the long overdue restructuring of the AUC Commission finally adopted to fit with the implementation of Agenda 2063

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot to chew and to digest today. Let’s make it freely and honestly…

This debate will be under Chatham House Rules in order to allow free expression…

I would like to thank sincerely our panelists and the Chair who accepted to join us despite their busy schedule at this moment: Ambassador of Ghana H.E.  Albert Yankey, Madame Jennifer Chiriga Chief of Staff of the African Union Commission Dr. George Mukundi from the African Governance Architecture, AU Commission, Comrade Don Deya from the Pan Africa Lawyers Union,  and Brenda Mofya from Oxfam International: Thank you for coming….

Thank you all for your attention; I wish us a good debate…

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