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Time to translate promises of shared values to action

The slow rate of ratification and domestication of key African Union instruments is alarming and continues to undermine the credibility of the continental body.

State of the Union (SOTU), a coalition of 10 civil society organizations that advocates for the ratification, domestication and implementation of key African Union treaties and legal instruments, has urged national, regional and continental Parliaments to take a leading role in promoting the ratification and implementation of key AU instruments and policy standards.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of the Speakers of African Parliaments, Neville Gabriel, a member of the SOTU coalition said National Assemblies must play a critical role in ensuring that governments deliver on the commitments they make at the AU and to ensure that they are translated into actions which will make a difference in the lives of the African citizens.

‘The slow rate of ratification and domestication of key instruments is alarming. It continues to undermine the credibility of the African Union and all its key organs and denies millions of African citizen’s fundamental freedoms and basic human rights as intended by the protocols,’ says Neville Gabriel, executive director, Southern Africa Trust, one of the 10 SOTU coalition members.

He said although there has been some progress in the rate of ratification with a total of 118 new ratifications have been entered against the 43 instruments, more needs to be done to ensure the ratifications go hand in hand with domestications and implementations.

Four countries have performed extremely well over the last 18 months. Burkina Faso has ratified seven instruments while Zambia, Gabon and Rwanda have ratified five instruments each. In the last seven months, Benin and Congo have ratified five instruments each while Comoros, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mauritania and Niger have ratified two instruments each.

By August 2012, only two countries, Kenya and Mauritius, had ratified the African Charter on the values and principles of Public Service & Administration (2011) and only 14 countries had ratified the Charter for Democracy, Elections and Governance. At this current rate, universal ratification of African Union treaties would not be complete before 2053, one hundred years after the formation of the AU’s predecessor the Organisation of African Unity.

Gabriel urged national speakers to pressurize their governments to create mechanisms including formation of national commissions to popularize AU treaties as well as monitor the implementation of the key AU decision and instruments. He further called on national speakers to support their Heads of States or Ministers to brief public hearings or parliament prior to AU Summits to seek public mandate for some of the positions to be taken in upcoming Summits.

Voir en ligne : State of the Union (SOTU) 2012-09-12, Issue 597, Pambazuka

Publié le 15 septembre 2012