African Union : The PSC underlines the importance of international justice for peace and security in Africa

During a hearing yesterday before the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), FIDH has shown its support for the importance of the authority in charge of conflict prevention and resolution in Africa to insist on human rights’ protection in the framework of its decisions and actions, particularly with regard to the fight against impunity of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes at national and international levels. FIDH has also formulated concrete proposals for the protection of human rights in Mali and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as both countries are on the agenda of the PSC meeting.

Upon invitation of the Republic of Guinea, which is presiding over the PSC meeting in December 2012, FIDH made an intervention before the PSC on the protection of human rights for conflict prevention and resolution in Africa [1] . FIDH is the very first international human rights organisation to be auditioned by this authority during a public hearing.

Through the voices of its representatives, Mr.. Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President and Mr. Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice-President, our organisation highlighted to the Ambassadors of the African Union, the importance of developing, as much as possible, a global approach, including the protection of human rights as enshrined in the Protocol of the PSC for conflict prevention and resolution.

FIDH has also called upon the PSC to make the fight against impunity of the most serious crimes an action priority by supporting justice efforts within national jurisdictions, but also through the International Criminal Court (ICC) when there is absence of willingness or lack of capacity of national authorities in effectively prosecuting the authors of these crimes. FIDH urged the PSC to support an enhanced and universal action of the ICC in order to combat the perception of a “double standards” policy, because of the absence of prosecutions outside the African continent.

FIDH further called upon the PSC to promote the participation of women and civil society representatives in conflict resolution processes, and to pay particular attention to the protection of the rights of women, children, migrants and human rights defenders.

Moreover, FIDH emphasised the importance of training and mandating African intervention troops to safeguard human rights, such as the Neutral International Force which should deploy in Eastern DRC, and peace-keeping missions.

Finally, , the FIDH presented concrete recommendations to the PSC with regard to the protection of human rights in the DRC and Mali conflicts’ settlements. A PSC meeting on Mali is actually scheduled today.

“This hearing was a fantastic opportunity to push the PSC to place human rights protection at the heart of its mandate in conflict prevention and resolution, notably with regard to the fight against impunity of the most serious crimes”, declared Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President.

In its press release following the FIDH delegation hearing, the PSC reiterated “the AU’s commitment to fight impunity and emphasised the importance of international and transitional justice in the promotion of peace and security in Africa”, In the search for solutions to crises and conflicts, and taking into account the fragility of peace and reconciliation processes on the continent, it also raised the importance of holistic approach.

The PSC also “expressed its gratitude to civil society organisations and to the international community for their support of AU efforts in promoting and protecting human rights in situations of crisis and conflict”

“We appreciate the fruitful debates that have animated this hearing and which have resulted in the Ambassadors asking to continue the debate with civil society in the accomplishment of PSC mandate”, added Dismas Kitenge, FIDH Vice President.

This hearing took place at AU headquarters, a day before the Seminar on Justice, jointly organised by FIDH and the Regional Bureau of United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for members of African Union Permanent Representative Committee (PRC), the AU Commission and Peace and Security Council. This Seminar is being held in response to a request from PRC representatives to stimulate discussion on the issues, challenges and prospects of fighting impunity in present-day Africa.

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