The Darfur Consortium

. . .

Press Statement for Immediate Release
2nd February 2008

ISSUED BY: Institute for Democratic Governance, International Refugee Rights Initiative, Solidarity for African Women Rights and Oxfam.

Civil Society Organisations call on new AU leadership to prioritise peace and human security, gender parity and strengthening AU organs

Addis Ababa – 2nd February 2008 – Following the election of the Chairperson of African Union and the Commission and as the 10th African Union Summit comes to a close, CSOs have called on the African Union to prioritise peace and human security, gender parity and strengthening AU organs.

Mr. Desire Assogbavi, Oxfam’s Pan Africa Senior Policy Analyst commented, ‘’We salute President Konare’s visionary, influential and high profile leadership. It has given a new image to our continent. We also congratulate Hon. Jean Ping and the new Commissioners. Key on their agenda should be to create an action-oriented organisation where the principles of non-indifference, the vision of free movement of citizens and the challenge of poverty eradication are fully implemented’’.

Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey of the Institute for Democratic Governance – Ghana, organiser of the civil society pre-Accra Summit conference challenged the new leadership further. He says;  ‘’New leaders must give full attention to the audit of the AU and take necessary action in order to correct structural weaknesses that hampers the Union’s effectiveness. In doing this, the Union must work closely with the civil society and take advantage of its resources.’’

Mr. Dismas N’kunda the Ugandan Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiatives added; ‘’Peace and security must be increasingly the central focus of the AU over the next 5 years.  People of Darfur, Somalia, Kenya, Comoros and other conflict areas of Africa need to see a new era in their life.”

Women’s rights organisations also added their voices to the election of the new team. Ms. Faiza Mohamed of the Solidarity for African Women Rights (SOAWR) says, ‘’we recognize the large number of women who applied for positions in the AU Commission. We urge the entire new Commission - both men and women to implement the principle of gender parity and gender mainstreaming of all programmes’’ “Of utmost importance is the universal ratification of the Women Rights Protocol and the implementation of the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality’’ She added.


For comments, please contact:
Mr. Désiré Assogbavi; Oxfam +251 - 911 20 83 32
Mr. Dismas Nkunda, International Refugee Rights Initiative +256 -782310404
Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey; IDEG: + 233 - 244325157
Ms. Faiza Mohamed; SOAWR, Tel: + 254 - 722805539



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African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR)

African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)

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Arab Coalition for Darfur

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East Africa Law Society

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Human Rights First

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National Association of Seadogs

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