African Civil Society expressed their positions on the Key issues of the 11th African Union Summit Agenda, in Sharm El Sheikh. During a press conference today, CSOs’ representative launched a declaration with forty-three recommendations covering all pressing issues of the African continent.
Over 100 African Citizens, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Coalitions from the 5 geographical regions and the Diaspora participated in the Third Citizens Continental Conference on the AU Summit organized by the Centre for Citizens Participation in the African Union (CCP-AU) at the Pyramisa Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Addressing the opening ceremony of the conference H.E. Ambassador Shamel Naser, Egyptian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for African Affairs praised the initiative of the CCP AU for organizing an independent forum of African Citizens to constructively contribute to the upcoming African Union Summit. ‘’ It is important for us to allow various voices of African Citizens within the decision making process of the AU’’ said Dr. Amany Asfour, President of the Egyptian Business Women Association, the host organization of the conference.
Ms. Yemisrach Kebede, Director of the CCP-AU said ‘’ Many African citizens and CSOs’ are active in engaging the continental body. Our Centre plays catalytic role in coordinating those actions and efforts around the AU decision making bodies’’. The participatory sessions of the conference focused on various issues on the Summit agenda such as the audit of the AU; the Union Government of Africa; Peace and Security situation Darfur, Chad, Somalia, Zimbabwe and South Africa; Social and Economic justice in Africa; Water and Sanitation; the Millennium Development Goals and International Justice to name a few..
Talking about the situation in Zimbabwe, Mr. Allioune Tine, Secretary General of RADDHO said “The election situation in Zimbabwe is unacceptable. What is the point of having elections in Africa, if it will always end up by power a sharing system? The Kenyan example should not be a model for Africa.”
“ We are calling the African Union for an immediate prioritization and action on the audit recommendations.” said Ms. Yemisrach Kebede, Director of the CCP-AU. “We urge our leaders to speed up the process of free movement for African Citizens. This is a fundamental prerequisite to making the union government a reality”, she added.
On the issue of food crisis in Africa, CSOs urge that African member states put in place strong short-term measures to mitigate the impact of rising food prices and the global crisis ensuing from it.
In her recommendation regarding the merging the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, Mrs. Osai Ojigho, Programme Officer for Alliances for African Secretariat-CEAC, said “ It is not acceptable that the new merged court isn’t open to the actual victims of human rights abuse. We urge our leaders to open up access to the court to citizens and CSOs.