Human right activists and six entrepreneurs, including Mo Ibrahim, have urged the African Union to use the current summit in Addis Ababa to urgently resolve the conflict in South Sudan and Burundi.
Media reports say the groups made the call in an open letter addressed to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The letter was signed by the former judge of the Rwanda Tribunal and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, Uganda’s Director of African Youth Initiative Network and 2015 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Victor Ochen, also signed.
South African, Mr Jay Naidoo, who chairs the Board of and the Partnership Council of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Dr Chidi Odinkalu, the Chair of the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission,and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights among other activists.
“It is critical that the AU’s decisions on Burundi and South Sudan are implemented immediately, in order to fulfill our collective commitment to prevent crimes against humanity and assist those at risk of grave harm,” they said.
In the case of South Sudan, the letter noted that both the government and the opposition have failed to form a government of national unity within the set deadline.
Whereas, Burundi has seen an outbreak of violence in 2015, after the incumbent president, Pierre Nkurunzinza contested last year for another term in office.
According to the Kenyan Daily Nation, the letter by the entrepreneurs and the rights group stated that this is a “grave test of AU credibility” and of the ability of African leaders to handle their own issues.
“Failure to act now would dent the reputation of the institution and those at its helm, and constitute a betrayal of the ordinary civilians in both countries whose lives are gravely affected by continuing violence and a lack of accountability,” the letter read.
The South Sudan conflict is one the items expected to dominate a report by the Peace and Security Council, to be tabled before the leaders tomorrow during the AU’s 26th Ordinary Summit.
The entrepreneurs and the rights activists also questioned why the AU did not establish a hybrid court to prosecute violence perpetrators, four months after the peace agreement was signed.
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Published Saturday, March 25, 2023
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