AU 16th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council Opens

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By Carlyn Hambuba

Addis Ababa, 28 January 2010 – Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr. Jean Ping has described the year 2009 as an important year for the AUC following important meetings that were held during that period aimed at reinforcing Peace and Security in Africa. He said concrete actions were implemented following the Strategic Plan of the African Union Commission. He further highlighted the different achievements with respect to the peace keeping efforts of the Commission in conflict areas. These include: Niger, Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar and Guinea Bissau.Mr. Ping was speaking during the official opening of the Sixteenth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council which took place on Thursday 28 January 2010, at the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,.

 The Executive Council is being held within the framework of the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU, scheduled for 31st January to 2nd February 2010 under the theme: “Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development”.

The Executive Council is currently under the Chairmanship of Mr. Moussa Koussa, Secretary of International Cooperation to the People’s General Committee in charge of External Liaison and International Cooperation of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

 Mr. Moussa Koussa, emphasized on the need for resolving conflicts on the continent through the implementation of good governance, democracy and political dialogue.  He called on the AU Member States to create conducive conditions in their respective countries for peace, Stability and security to prevail.

 The official opening of the Executive council was preceded by a joint press conference convened by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).  The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) called on African Heads of State and Government gathered at the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 31st January to 2nd February, 2010 to ensure that women are not left out as they deliberate on the Year of Peace in Africa (2010).

 SOAWR Representative Ms. Naisola Likimani said Heads of State and Government of the AU must ensure that decisions taken during this Summit address the disproportionate impact of conflict on women in Africa compared to men and put in place measures that ensure women’s full and effective participation and representation in the AU’s Peace and Security Architecture, and peace processes including conflict prevention, resolution, management and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa as stipulated in UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).

 ‘’ While significant progress has been to resolve conflicts in our continent, the security situation in Africa continues to be volatile as reflected in the situations in the Sudan, DRC, Guinea Conakry and Somalia. Women continue to bear the brunt of these conflicts, including gross violations of their human rights including but not limited to sexual abuse, displacement and loss of life and livelihoods’’ Likimani.

 SOAWR also urged African States to accelerate implementation of the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003), the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (SDGEA) and the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889 on women and peace.

 ‘’As the world prepares to commemorate the 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 in October this year (2010) we appeal to the  AU Heads of State and Government to ensure more women’s rights are protected in conflict situations by prosecuting perpetrators of sexual abuse and that women effectively and fully participate in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction processes’’. Likimani

 Centre for Peace studies, Executive Directory Osman Hummaida said there is urgent need for collective measures in order to end the culture of impunity in Sudan and other parts of Africa. ‘’The peace and security council of the AUC has a responsibility to ensure that the conflict and violence in Sudan and other parts of Africa are addresses.’’ Hummaida.

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About FEMNET

FEMNET (The African Women's Development and Communication Network) is a pan African, feminist organisation working to advance the rights of women and girls in Africa. FEMNET has carved a niche in Informing and mobilizing African women in order for them to participate and influence policies and processes that affect their lives. FEMNET has hundreds of members in over 40 countries in Africa as well as in the diaspora. It has played a critical role in building the women's movement in Africa since inception in 1988.

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