HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AFRICAN UNION ON PEACE & SECURITY | MAY 2023
AUC convenes follow-up meeting of the Expanded Mechanism for Sudan
2 May 2023 | The AU Commission (AUC) convened a follow-up meeting of the Expanded Mechanism for Sudan pursuant to the Communiqué of the 20 April High-Level Meeting to discuss the way forward, including the plan for de-escalation. The AUC circulated a draft de-escalation plan for comments by participants. In his opening remarks, the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, underscored the imperative for coordinated action in response to the situation in Sudan. He noted that at this stage, the first priority is to push for the parties to the conflict to respect and extend the ceasefire and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. He reiterated his call of 26 April for Sudan’s neighbours to facilitate the transit and safety of civilians crossing borders without impediment.
The draft de-escalation plan, while acknowledging the need to prioritize the humanitarian response, notes that other elements would need to be pursued concurrently with the overall objective of achieving the full resumption of a credible political transition in Sudan. The plan outlines the following elements: (a) establishment of necessary coordination mechanisms; (b) addressing cessation of hostilities; (c) humanitarian response; (d) protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure; (e) role of neighbouring states; (f) resumption of an inclusive, fully representative political process; and (g) preparation of a Summit-level meeting to endorse the way forward.
EUPSC and AUPSC hold their 6th Joint Formal Retreat and 14th Joint Annual Consultative meeting
2 and 3 May 2023 | The AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the European Union Political and Security Committee (EUPSC) held their 6th Joint Formal Retreat and 14th Joint Annual Consultative meeting in Brussels, Belgium. The AUPSC was led by its Chair for the month of May, Rebecca Amuge Otengo Ambassador of Uganda to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU, while the EUPSC was led by its Chair, Ambassador Delphine Pronk of the Netherlands. The two organs deliberated on areas of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing further collaboration to promote peace, security, stability and development in the African continent. Discussions focused on three specific regions: the Great Lakes Region, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin. Other topics discussed were global peace and security issues, with a focus on multilateralism, as well as the issue of financing of AU PSOs, including through access to UN assessed contributions. The meeting was unable to agree on a communiqué at the end of its deliberations, allegedly due to diverging views over the war in Ukraine.
AUC Chairperson issues statement reaffirming the imperative of a ceasefire in Sudan as Saudi Arabia/US-facilitated talks begin in Jeddah
6 May 2023 | The AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, issued a statement noting that he is closely following the Saudi Arabia – United States facilitated talks between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which commenced on 6 May, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In the statement, the Chairperson urged the parties to agree to a humanitarian ceasefire as a matter of urgency as a first step to allow for the immediate supply of relief materials to ease the suffering of Sudanese civilians. He further called on the SAF and RSF to promptly agree to open humanitarian corridors to ensure the distribution of essential supplies and restoration of services. He reiterated the imperative for the parties to comply with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and to permanently silence the guns in the supreme interest of the people of Sudan. The Chairperson stressed the urgent need for the international community to combine efforts expeditiously in collective action, and to express solidarity with the Sudanese people for peace, democracy, and development. Read full statement here.
AUC issues a press release on its Expert’s meeting for the development of learners’ manuals for the AU strategy for the inclusion and mainstreaming of the ACDEG in school curricula, Dakar Senegal
7 May 2023 | The AUC issued a press release informing that as part of its mandate to promote the rule of law and constitutionalism in Africa, the Constitutionalism and Rule of Law Unit of the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS) organized an Expert’s-level meeting for the development of a learners’ manuals for the AU strategy for the inclusion and mainstreaming of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) in school curricula. The meeting took place in Dakar, Senegal from 2 to 7 May, and brought together the members of the Steering Committee, representatives from AU PAPS and Education, Science, Technology & Innovation (ESTI) Departments, representatives from the Ministry of National Education from Senegal, and civil society organizations. The activity was organized with the support of European Centre for Electoral Support with the financial support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Read the full press release here.
AUC issues press release on the deployment of a Technical Expert Mission to observe the Legislative Elections in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
8 May 2023 | The AUC issued a press release on the deployment of a Technical Expert Mission to observe the Legislative Elections in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania from 8 to 18 May, within the framework of the legislative elections scheduled for 13 May. During its stay in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the Mission will interact with the various stakeholders and observe the voting process before producing a final report upon the completion of the elections.
Panel of the Wise holds its 25th statutory meeting
12 and 13 May | The Panel of the Wise held its 25th statutory meeting at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The five members of the Panel participated in the statutory meeting, namely: former President of Burundi and Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise, Domitien Ndayizeye; former Deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; former Foreign Minister of Egypt and former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, Amre Moussa; Hon. Lady Justice Effie Owuor of the Republic of Kenya; and Professor Babacar Kante of the Republic of Senegal. Read press release issued and full article here.
AUC issues communiqué on YPS meeting to discuss the role of governments and RECs/RMs in promoting the YPS Agenda in the East Africa region
From 9 to 12 May, the representatives of the Governments of the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Kenya, the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Republic of South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda, National Youth Councils, youth-led organizations and youth delegates met in Bujumbura, Burundi, to discuss the role of governments, RECs/RMs in promoting the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) Agenda in the East Africa region. The meeting was convened by the AU, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Save the Children, ACCORD, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the Horn of Africa Youth Network.
The communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, inter alia, underscored the need to mainstream the YPS Agenda in Member States’ policies, including by domesticating international, continental and regional YPS policies and legal frameworks; and noted the progress made by the governments of the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Uganda in the development and operationalization of their National Action Plans. Read full communique here.
AUPSC issues press statement on its 1154th meeting on the evolving situation in Sudan
16 May | The AUPSC held its 1154th meeting on the evolving situation in Sudan. In the statement issued after the meeting, the AUPSC reiterated its strong condemnation of the ongoing conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Force and reiterated the demand for an immediate, unconditional, and comprehensive ceasefire. Furthermore, the Council commended the efforts being deployed by the AUC, through the Chairperson’s good offices, as well as the support provided by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC) and the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) Subcommittee on Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons, to help alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese population. Read the full press statement here.
AUC issues press release on the engagement between the AUPSC and the AU Chairperson
17 May | The AUC issued a press release on the engagement between the AUPSC and the AU Chairperson, informing that on 17 May,the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), under the Chairship of H.E. Ambassador Rebecca Amuge Otengo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for May 2023, held a consultative meeting with H.E. Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and Chairperson of the AU, on Wednesday, 17 May 2023. In this historic and first-of-its-kind meeting between the PSC and the Chairperson of the AU, extensive and frank deliberations were held on the state of governance, peace and security on the Continent, focusing mainly on political transition; the Horn of Africa; the Great Lakes Region and the Sahel region. The PSC and the Chairperson of the AU highlighted the critical importance of peace, security and stability as the overarching framework to fully implement the AU theme of the year 2023 – “Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation”. Read the full press release here.
AUC issues press release on strategic reflection on strengthening Femwise-Africa
17 May | The AUC issued a press release on the strategic reflection on strengthening Femwise-Africa. The press release informed that FemWise-Africa convened a strategic reflection meeting under the leadership of Catherine Samba-Panza, the Former President of the Central African Republic (CAR) and outgoing Co-Chair of FemWise-Africa, and Justice Effie Owour, Member of the AU Panel of the Wise and Co-Chair of FemWise-Africa, from 15 to 17 May, in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting reflected on and celebrated the achievements of the FemWise-Africa Network in the implementation of its mandate to strengthen the meaningful role of African women in peace processes during its first five years of operations, while also considering how to strategically position the Network to have even more impact at continental, regional and national levels. Read full article here.
AUC issues press release on the sixth policy dialogue of the AUC and the NANHRI
18 May | The AUC issued a press release on the sixth policy dialogue organized by the AUC in collaboration with the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) held from 15 to 17 May at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This event marked the 6th policy forum since its inception in 2017, a joint initiative by the AU PAPS, the AU Permanent Representatives Committee (AU PRC), and the NANHRI. This Forum is an annual platform aimed at fostering dialogue among key actors towards strategic collaborations and insights that inform policy decisions and lead to actionable steps with regard to the implementation of human rights commitments in Africa. This year’s theme, ‘Championing a Human Rights Based Approach in the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’, was in line with the AU theme of the Year 2023 “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation”. Read the full article here.