ECA Press Release No. 06/2012
Addis Ababa, 29 January 2012 (ECA) - The UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban ki-Moon today rolled out his agenda for progress and action in Africa, which, he said, was based on renewed investments in civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of Africans on which the continent’s future depends.
In a wide-ranging address to the 18th Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit, Mr. Ban touched on relations between the world body and Africa, especially peace and security, youth and women development, progress by different UN missions in Africa, recent successes in Somalia, Sudan but also in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya.
On the recent successes in Somalia, Mr Ban said for the first time in 17 years, the UN Political Office for Somalia had returned to Mogadishu, in fulfilment of a pledge he made during his visit to Somalia, the first by a UN Secretary-General in a generation.
“It is also a symbol of progress and commitment to Somalia’s future. Above all, it is a symbol of our partnership — the United Nations the African Union, united by hope and the promise of this mighty continent”, he explained.
He described the speech as an agenda for progress and action and acknowledged that while trade and investment are crucial for development, Africa’s future also depends on how its people are treated and governed on a daily basis.
It was Mr. Ban’s sixth address to African leaders but the first one since the popular uprisings that helped topple at least leaders in the region.
He drew a clear lesion from the popular movements: “Events have proved that repression is a dead-end. Police power is no match for people power seeking dignity and justice. The women and men protesting in streets and public squares across the region are both an inspiration and a reminder. A reminder that leaders must listen to their people and all of us must do more”, he said.
He said that different forms of discrimination have “prompted some governments to treat people as second-class citizens, or even criminals”, and that “confronting this discrimination is a challenge. But we must live up to the ideals of the Universal Declaration”.
Stressing the need for good governance and peaceful democratic transition of power in African countries, Mr. Ban called on leaders to work to ensure that all the 25 elections being organised in Africa this year “are well-managed, transparent and inclusive”.
He assured continued UN support and lauded the International Criminal Court for having proven to be an increasingly effective tool in standing against impunity and extending the reach of international human rights law, wishing its chief prosecutor well.
The new prosecutor, an African woman, Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia, is the new face of international justice, Mr Ban said.
He said that the UN political mission in Libya is helping the new transitional authorities to organize elections and improve public security, rule of law and transitional justice.
He took the opportunity to welcome the Republic of South Sudan and to call upon the new Republic and its northern neighbour, the Republic of Sudan to show statesmanship and resolve outstanding issues.
He praised the work done by AMISOM and announced that the African Union, the United Nations and others are crafting a comprehensive Strategic Concept for AMISOM and promised to work to address threats posed by the LRA in the four affected countries as well as emerging transnational challenges in West Africa such as terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and the rise of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
He paid tribute to victims of recent indiscriminate and unacceptable violent attacks in Nigeria, saying that no cause justifies terror.
He called on more concerted effort to ensure a better future for the women and youth who represent 80 % of Africa’s population.
The Secretary-General singled out Rwanda and South Africa for praise in the area of women empowerment where women represent respectively 56 % and 46 % of their national parliaments. He said everything should be done to ensure adequate presence of women in the decision making processes in Africa including in Egypt and Tunisia where they played a key role in the recent political transformation of those countries.
He expressed confidence that the UN and AU would continue to work closely to build on the common values that are the foundation of the United Nations and the African Union.
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