Significance of maintaining peace and TZ’s position on Africa

ON 18th May, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union held an Open Session on Humanitarian Action in Africa. This meeting was held at a time when the Horn of Africa region has been impacted by new a humanitarian catastrophe following the instability in Sudan.

The Open Session considered humanitarian situations in all five regions of the continent and noted of the costly crises caused by conflict, climate change and mismanaged political transitions. It is estimated that Africa has over 37 million forcibly displaced persons out of which 7.6 million are refugees, which presents a double challenge for displaced persons and for the hosting communities and countries.

Humanitarian crises on the continent have led to deaths, loss of lives and livelihoods, and forced displacement owing to persistent instability. The Open Session discussed measures and mechanisms to further strengthen humanitarian action on the continent.

The Open Session also highlighted the need to tackle the root causes leading to humanitarian crises, and hence the need to enhanced early warning and prevention capacities of the African Union and other Regional Economic Communities. It will be recalled that in May 2022, the African Union agreed to establish an African Humanitarian Agency, and in February 2023 officially adopted the Statute establishing this body to be charged with coordinating Africa’s response to crises.

The challenge faced by humanitarian actors was also highlighted. The meeting also reiterated the need for all parties to conflicts to adhere to International Humanitarian law and International Human Rights Law to ensure humanitarian access to those caught up in conflict situations.

The Permanent Representative of the United Republic of Tanzania to the African Union (AU), Ambassador Innocent Shiyo noted that the session was an important opportunity for all to remind themselves of the reality faced by African continent and their responsibility to protect the people of the continent so as to safeguard the ‘Africa We Want’.

“Chair you will clearly recall that at our 1154th meeting we had a discussion on mobilising African stakeholders for effective mediation and preventive Diplomacy where we received a briefing on the activities of the African First Ladies Peace Mission. This was followed by another key agenda item where we received an update on the situation in Sudan. Yesterday we had an honor to engage with the Chair of the union on matters of governance, Peace and Security.

”All these efforts are aimed at ensuring that we have a peaceful Africa, Africa that is moving forward in in terms of its development.  That’s why I can easily say/conclude that today’s agenda is a subset of the previous two agenda items,” noted Ambassador Shiyo.

He noted that security is essential for the survival and flourishing of any society and it involves the protection of individuals, communities, and nations. It is well said that every community is only as strong or weak as the state of its security;

Ambassador Shiyo said that his delegation was deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation on the continent due to protracted conflicts, climatic shocks, Covid-19 pandemic and economic slowdown and this calls for deep concern and concerted efforts to stem the tide.

“It is our fervent hope that the outcomes of this meeting will serve to strengthen our Union’s collective resolve to address the conditions conducive to the persistence and spread of poor humanitarian situations in Africa,” he said.

During the 15th  Ordinary meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security that was held last week, in his  Opening remarks, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security clearly mentioned in his remarks that Africa is bleeding security wise because the fundamental roots of insecurity have been constantly mounting ranging from weak institutions, corruption, poverty, marginalization relating to  political, economic, and social unrest

Statistics show us that Africa has more than 30 million internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers. In 2020, Sub-Sahara Africa alone had a total of 10.4 million internally displaced children aged below 15 years.

Ambassador Shiyo said that his delegation noted with concern the impact of humanitarian crises on the continent, its people and its development, and Underscore the need for scaled up humanitarian assistance to ensure effective response to crisis situations on the continent.

He called on member states to continue to show solidarity with member states and their nationals affected by humanitarian crises, called for fast-tracking the operationalisation of the African Humanitarian Agency to enhance the Union’s capacity to prevent and respond to humanitarian crises.

“Cognizant of development-peace-and security nexus, the role of the private sector as well as African development and financial institutions, including AU Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Development Bank (ADB), African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should be underscored in addressing the development challenges that create conducive condition for the spread of terrorism and violent extremism,” said the ambassador.

He called for full implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union at its 1107th meeting, held on 23 September 2022, on the theme – Strengthening regional organizations for the maintenance of peace and security in Africa: preventing and fighting terrorism and violent extremism in the continent.

Ambassador Shiyo noted that AU treaties provide the normative and legal mechanism, through which member states can foster greater political and economic integration, while simultaneously catalyzing enhanced peace and security and poverty reduction.

“As of today there are about 15 OAU/AU treaties that relate to today’s agenda item starting with the 1969 Convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa to the new protocol, which was passed by heads of state and government in February 2022 that provides for the right to social protection that is available, accessible, adequate, affordable and transparent. We therefore call for speedy ratification and implementation of these instruments for the better future of our mother Africa,” he said.

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