Category Archives: Africa

UNESCO supports young people for reflections on emerging forms of expression in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

An article from UNESCO

On Thursday, December 26, 2019 in Dakar, the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa-Sahel, through the Human and Social Sciences sector (SHS), organized a workshop to present the study “Young people and areas of freedom in Africa: Emerging expressions of young people to consolidate peace, democratization and achieve the SDGs”.

The main objective was to define and inform public policies for young people in order to make them more relevant, inclusive and equitable. Under the chairmanship of Ms. Néné Fatoumata Sall, Minister of Youth, the workshop brought together more than forty participants, including members of the study’s scientific council, representatives of COMNat Senegal in charge of logistics coordination of the study, representatives of youth organizations, representatives of civil society, researchers and academics from The Gambia and Senegal, key partners of the Banjul Forum, members of the Multidisciplinary Research Team and the UNESCO Office staff in Dakar.

“This study constitutes a platform for exchange, consolidation & appropriation, the aim of which is to mobilize the knowledge of young people to inform public policies and accelerate social transformations in Africa,” said Ms. Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, employment and citizen building in Senegal.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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During his introductory remarks, Dr Maréma Touré Thiam, Head of the Human and Social Sciences section of the UNESCO Office in Dakar, recalled that “for UNESCO, young people are essential actors in finding solutions to challenges, they are the solution to Africa’s development. They have always played a major role in the democratization and pacification of societies ”. Thus, this study, carried out by a team of 9 researchers (with 7 different profiles and coming from 5 countries covered by the Office), in collaboration with the Bamako Office and the Culture program of BReDa, made it possible to analyze the trends in several African countries (particularly West Africa) regarding the “emerging” expressions, creativity and capacity for innovation of African youth in terms of civic and civic engagement. The workshop was an opportunity to discuss the efforts necessary to support young people and help them work together to encourage innovation and social change, the development of their societies, fight against poverty and inequality, and foster a culture of peace.

The discussions and exchanges during the workshop made it possible to validate the results with all the participants and stakeholders, but also to underline the importance for UNESCO of supporting young people and researchers for reflections on the innovative forms of expression for young people, in order to consolidate peace, democracy and development in Africa.

“Young people have a preponderant role to play in the progress of societies because they represent the lever by which the Nations will have to rely to aspire to development” Mrs., Néné Fatoumata Tall, Minister of Youth, Employment and citizen building of Senegal

It was recommended to continue and develop scientific research on young people and to deepen it in order to make available to the authorities and stakeholders a “consolidated document” to inform youth policies. The workshop ended with the reading of the declaration of the African Regional Youth Forum, held in Banjul in October 2019.
 

Burkina Faso: Struggle against radicalization: Imams and preachers strengthen their knowledge

TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY .

An article from Le Faso

The Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Social Cohesion, Simeon Sawadogo, presided, on January 10, 2020, the ceremony for the end of training of imams, preachers and Koranic masters on human rights, the culture of peace, health and the environment. The trainees undertook to propagate the lessons received for a Burkina Faso of peace.

We must cultivate peace

During their internship, the imams, preachers and Koranic masters learned the need to cultivate peace and this goes through the behavior and the teachings which are given in Koranic schools and mosques. The lesson seems well understood by the trainees. The first module focused on education for a culture of peace. We have learned that you have to be tolerant, just, fair and cultivate inner peace in order to share it with family, neighborhood and city members, said Harouna Tao, Imam-preacher of Titao. In this regard, he has promised to teach and work now to promote peace around him and urged his fellow believers to do the same.

The second module focused on human rights and legal remedies. The trainers taught the learners the basics of human rights and the need to respect them for better living together. We now know the rights of the individual, of people. We have also learned, when your rights are violated, how to go to court to seek redress. We will encourage these attitudes in our mosques, our preachings in order to promote a good coexistence between Muslims and other religious communities added Imam Harouna Tao.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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The last module, health and the environment in relation to sustainable development, was a framework for learners to understand the need to preserve nature for future generations. A teaching that has been well received by religious leaders and who promise to apply it. A healthy and supportive environment contributes to the health of the entire population, which prepares the future for future generations. Development in the new vision must take into account the future of the planet, of future generations. If we ask ourselves which child we leave on this earth and which earth we leave to our offspring, it is important that we work to preserve the environment, added Imam Tao.

Training was necessary

The 20 days of training were initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and carried out in partnership with the Burkinabè government and the Circle of Islamic Studies, Research and Training (CERFI). For Siméon Sawadogo, training was very necessary in view of the national context. He urged trainees to train imams, preachers and Quranic teachers who did not participate in the training.

The government has realized that we must work to combat violent extremism and radicalization. These are facts that we have seen in our society and that the government is working to eradicate. ECOWAS has been good enough to support the Burkinabè government and the sub-region in this struggle by training the first officials who are responsible for teaching others about religious precepts.

So these are imams, preachers who have been trained here at CERFI thanks to the support of ECOWAS and in their turn, they will go to train people in the medersas so that in their preaching in mosques and religious places, they can banish hate speech and they can work so that people learn how to live together and know the true precepts of religion ;, said Simeon Sawadogo.

The interns are now envoys of the Burkinabè government to their co-religionists in order to block the road to the violent extremism and radicalization that fuel terrorism in countries of the sub-region including Burkina.

PAYNCoP Gabon advocates for the participation and support of youth initiatives at the United Nations

. TOLERANCE & SOLIDARITY .

By: JERRY BIBANG

The National Coordination of the Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace (PAYNCoP Gabon) took part, on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, in the working session of the Under-Secretary of the United Nations, in charge of peace and security issues, Ms. Bintou Keita, with Gabonese Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

The meeting, which took place on the margins of the 7th Peace Forum, organized in Libreville, enabled Ms. Bintou to exchange views with Gabonese CSOs on issues of development, peace and security at the national level.

Speaking on the contribution of young people to development and peacebuilding, the National Coordinator of PAYNCoP Gabon advocated for the contribution of young people on two levels: participation and action. Young people are a force for proposal and action.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
 
Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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Unfortunately, despite the normative framework favorable to their participation, in particular resolution 2250 (young people, peace and security) of the UN Security Council, the African Youth Charter and the National Youth Policy, their participation remains a real challenge at a national level. They are marginalized and their needs and aspirations and their opinions are not taken into account. The worrying unemployment rate, the alarming situation of the education system as well as that of the National Youth Council are examples of this situation. How can young people contribute to the development of the country when if are not associated in decision-making?

In addition, alongside participation at the decision-making level, young people are in action. They take initiatives, carry out multiple and varied activities in different fields.

Unfortunately, these activities are limited due to insufficient resources. So we need support, funding to be more effective. In the associative framework, the Gabonese are excluded from certain financings because of the statute of our country (Country with Intermediate Income) whereas that remains a theoretical reality for the majority of Gabonese. In fact, decent accommodation, good training, food, treatment and decent work remains a privilege in Gabon as well as in Burundi or Sudan, classified among the poorest countries in the world.

In response to these remarks, the Under-Secretary of the United Nations promised to relay these observations to whom it should concern. She encouraged the young people not to give up because the youth is the present and the future of Gabon and Africa.
 

Humanitarian community praise Sudan PM’s visit to Nuba Mtns

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from Radio Dabanga

In a statement today, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) in Sudan, Gwi-Yeop Son, who was part of the international delegation, that accompanied Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok on his historic visit to Kauda yesterday commended the spirit of cooperation between the government of Sudan and the SPLM-N that resulted in this historic visit.


Sudan’s PM Hamdok and SPLM-N head Abdelaziz El Hilu share a joke
during the visit to Kauda yesterday [January 9] (RD)

“It comes following the Sudanese government’s commitment to allow unfettered humanitarian access to all areas of the country.”

Son is further encouraged that the SPLM-N El Hilu is open to the delivery of humanitarian assistance to all areas under their control in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

“The United Nations stands ready to deliver assistance to people in need in all areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states,” Son said.

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Question related to this article:

 

Can peace be achieved in South Sudan?

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While in Kauda, the delegation visited schools where humanitarian organisations are implementing a school feeding programme – a top priority identified following an assessment in the end of December 2019. School supplies for 800 children were also delivered as well as non-food items, Son’s statement says

Sudan INGOs Steering Committee

The Sudan INGOs Steering Committee – a coordination mechanism that includes all international non-governmental organisations aiming to coordinate with government, UN agencies, and other actors – has welcomed the initiative of PM Hamdok’s visit to Kauda.

In a press statement yesterday, the committee said: “The visit comes at critical juncture of Sudanese history and [represents a] brave turn in the path of confidence and trust building that contributes to lasting peace and stability in Sudan, equitable treatment of Sudanese people, and respect for their human rights.

“Since the eruption of conflict in South Kordofan (Nuba Mountains) and Blue Nile in 2011, areas under the control of SPLM-N suffered a humanitarian siege by the previous regime that led to worsening of the humanitarian situation and increasing the suffering of the Sudanese citizens in these areas.”

The committee says that PM Hamdok’s visit “opens new windows for humanitarian and development organisations to start their programs and activities in those areas to relieve suffering of war affected people, and participate in moving towards long term developmental programs as a building block for sustained and long lasting peace.”

The committee says it “appreciates the courage and brave actions of the Sudanese leaders both of the transitional government and SPLM-N for taking this step which will also open a window for social peace and healing of the social cohesion and fabric teared by war.”

Alpha Blondy in concert in Daloa, Côte d’Ivoire: “Don’t let politics divide us”

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Yeclo

In his concert on Saturday January 4, 2020 Alpha Blondy called on the people of Daloa for stronger union and mutual understanding.

“Don’t let politics divide us. we are one and indivisible and our strength is in unity and understanding that we can face adversity. “said Alpha Blondy at his concert.

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(Click here for the French original of this article)

 

Question related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?

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The concert was scheduled to start around 5 p.m. but did not really start until around 11 p.m. Music lovers, too numerous for the space, came to listen to the artist and his messages. This disrupted the smooth running of the concert. Agents committed to security were overwhelmed by young spectators, but calm returned after an energetic police intervention.

In the middle of the day, the artist met with communities living in Daloa to talk to them about the need to remain united for stability and peace in Côte d’Ivoire. After Dimbokro, Ferkéssedougou, Korhogo, it was in Daloa that the artist held his concert funded by Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly to raise awareness of the need for union and the culture of peace.

Zimbabwe: MDC Leadership Engages National Peace And Reconciliation Commission

… . HUMAN RIGHTS … .

An article from Pindula News

The MDC leadership today met with Commissioners of the , an independent Constitutional Commission, at the party headquarters at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai headquarters in a frank and honest debate regarding the work and mandate of the Commission.

[Note: The Movement for Democratic Change is the main opposition political party in Zimbabwe.]

President Nelson Chamisa welcomed the Commissioners to the party headquarters and said the party appreciated the heavy workload of the Commission.

In his welcome remarks, he said that he hoped for an open, frank and honest discussion between the party leadership and the NPRC in a manner that would further the interests of the people of Zimbabwe and entrench a culture of peace and tolerance in the country.

President Chamisa sought leave of the Commissioners to attend the funeral of one his drivers in Mbare. He left Vice President Hon. Tendai Biti to chair the MDC leadership’s two-and-half-hour fruitful and candid engagement with the leadership of the NPRC.

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Question related to this article:

Truth Commissions, Do they improve human rights?

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The MDC leaders raised issues to do with the independence and autonomy of the Commission, the continued culture of impunity in the country in spite of the existence of the Commission as well as the disturbing fact that the NPRC had not referred anyone for prosecution, even in cases where the culprits of violence and conflict had been identified.

The party leaders cited Gukurahundi, the electoral violence that has been committed by Zanu PF over the years and the non-prosecution of perpetrators of violence in cases such as the State-sponsored violence of August 01, 2018, in which six people were killed as well as the State-driven violence of January 2019 in which more innocent people were callously murdered.

The NPRC insisted that it was an independent Commission and that it would roll out a national visibility programme in 2020, even though they said they required more resources to execute their Constitutional mandate.

The party leadership and the NPRC agreed to continuously engage to solve conflicts and promote peace and reconciliation in the country.

As a party, the MDC has been a victim of Zanu PF and State-sponsored violence in which thousands of people have been brutally killed, with no action taken against the culprits.

The party leadership insisted in the meeting that peace and reconciliation alone were not enough as justice had to be seen to be done particularly against the perpetrators of violence and genocide against the people.

Luke Tamborinyoka

Deputy National Spokesperson

The Nobel Lecture Given by the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed Ali

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

An article from the Addis Standard

“Forging A Durable Peace in the Horn of Africa”
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,
Fellow Ethiopians, Fellow Africans, Citizens of the World
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be here with you, and deeply grateful to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for recognizing and encouraging my contribution to a peaceful resolution of the border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace. Likewise, I accept this award on behalf of my partner, and comrade-in-peace, President Isaias Afwerki, whose goodwill, trust, and commitment were vital in ending the two-decade deadlock between our countries.

I also accept this award on behalf of Africans and citizens of the world for whom the dream of peace has often turned into a nightmare of war.

Today, I stand here in front of you talking about peace because of fate.

I crawled my way to peace through the dusty trenches of war years ago.

I was a young soldier when war broke out between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

I witnessed firsthand the ugliness of war in frontline battles.

There are those who have never seen war but glorify and romanticize it.

They have not seen the fear,

They have not seen the fatigue,

They have not seen the destruction or heartbreak,

Nor have they felt the mournful emptiness of war after the carnage.

War is the epitome of hell for all involved. I know because I have been there and back.

I have seen brothers slaughtering brothers on the battlefield.

I have seen older men, women, and children trembling in terror under the deadly shower of bullets and artillery shells.

You see, I was not only a combatant in war.

I was also a witness to its cruelty and what it can do to people.

War makes for bitter men. Heartless and savage men.

Twenty years ago, I was a radio operator attached to an Ethiopian army unit in the border town of Badme. The town was the flashpoint of the war between the two countries.

I briefly left the foxhole in the hopes of getting a good antenna reception.

It took only but a few minutes. Yet, upon my return, I was horrified to discover that my entire unit had been wiped out in an artillery attack. I still remember my young comrades-in-arms who died on that ill-fated day. I think of their families too.

During the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, an estimated one hundred thousand soldiers and civilians lost their lives. The aftermath of the war also left untold numbers of families broken. It also permanently shattered communities on both sides. Massive destruction of infrastructure further amplified the post-war economic burden.

Socially, the war resulted in mass displacements, loss of livelihoods, deportation and denationalization of citizens. Following the end of active armed conflict in June 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea remained deadlocked in a stalemate of no-war, no-peace for two decades.

During this period, family units were split over borders, unable to see or talk to each other for years to come.

Tens of thousands of troops remained stationed along both sides of the border. They remained on edge, as did the rest of the country and region. All were worried that any small border clash would flare into a full-blown war once again.

As it was, the war and the stalemate that followed were a threat for regional peace, with fears that a resumption of active combat between Ethiopia and Eritrea would destabilize the entire Horn region.

And so, when I became Prime Minister about 18 months ago, I felt in my heart that ending the uncertainty was necessary. I believed peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea was within reach. I was convinced that the imaginary wall separating our two countries for much too long needed to be torn down.

And in its place, a bridge of friendship, collaboration and goodwill has to be built to last for ages.

That is how I approached the task of building a peace bridge with my partner President Isaias Afwerki. We were both ready to allow peace to flourish and shine through. We resolved to turn our “swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks” for the progress and prosperity of our people.

We understood our nations are not enemies. Instead, we were victims of the common enemy called poverty. We recognized that while our two nations were stuck on old grievances, the world was shifting rapidly and leaving us behind.

We agreed we must work cooperatively for the prosperity of our people and our region.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are reaping our peace dividends. Families separated for over two decades are now united. Diplomatic relations are fully restored. Air and telecommunication services have been reestablished. And our focus has now shifted to developing joint infrastructure projects that will be a critical lever in our economic ambitions. Our commitment to peace between our two countries is iron-clad. One may wonder, how it is that a conflict extending over twenty years, can come to an amicable resolution.


Allow me to share with you a little about the beliefs that guide my actions for peace.

I believe that peace is an affair of the heart. Peace is a labor of love. Sustaining peace is hard work. Yet, we must cherish and nurture it. It takes a few to make war, but it takes a village and a nation to build peace. For me, nurturing peace is like planting and growing trees.

Just like trees need water and good soil to grow, peace requires unwavering commitment, infinite patience, and goodwill to cultivate and harvest its dividends. Peace requires good faith to blossom into prosperity, security, and opportunity.

In the same manner that trees absorb carbon dioxide to give us life and oxygen, peace has the capacity to absorb the suspicion and doubt that may cloud our relationships.

In return, it gives back hope for the future, confidence in ourselves, and faith in humanity. This humanity I speak of, is within all of us. We can cultivate and share it with others if we choose to remove our masks of pride and arrogance.

When our love for humanity outgrows our appreciation of human vanity then the world will know peace. Ultimately, peace requires an enduring vision. And my vision of peace is rooted in the philosophy of Medemer. Medemer, an Amharic word, signifies synergy, convergence, and teamwork for a common destiny. Medemer is a homegrown idea that is reflected in our political, social, and economic life.

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Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

Can peace be achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

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I like to think of “Medemer” as a social compact for Ethiopians to build a just, egalitarian, democratic, and humane society by pulling together our resources for our collective survival and prosperity.

In practice, Medemer is about using the best of our past to build a new society and a new civic culture that thrives on tolerance, understanding, and civility.

At its core, Medemer is a covenant of peace that seeks unity in our common humanity. It pursues peace by practicing the values of love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come from a small town called Beshasha, located in the Oromia region of Western Ethiopia. It is in Beshasha that the seeds of Medemer began to sprout.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me and my siblings, an abiding faith in humanity. Medemer resonates with the proverb, “I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.”

In my little town, we had no running water, electricity, or paved roads. But we had a lot of love to light up our lives. We were each other’s keepers.

Faith, humility, integrity, patience, gratitude, tenacity, and cooperation coursed like a mighty stream. And we traveled together on three country roads called love, forgiveness, and reconciliation. In the Medemer idea, there is no “Us and Them.”

There is only “US” for “We” are all bound by a shared destiny of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

For the people in the “Land of Origins” and “The 13 Months of Sunshine,” Medemer has always been second nature. Ethiopians maintained peaceful coexistence between the followers of the two great religions because we always came together in faith and worship.

We, Ethiopians, remained independent for thousands of years because we came together to defend our homeland. The beauty of our Ethiopia is its extraordinary diversity.

The inclusiveness of Medemer ensures no one is left behind in our big extended family.

It has also been said, “No man is an island.”

Just the same, no nation is an island. Ethiopia’s Medemer-inspired foreign policy pursues peace through multilateral cooperation and good neighborliness.

We have an old saying: “በሰላም እንድታድር ጎረቤትህ ሰላም ይደር”, “yoo ollaan nagayaan bule, nagaan bulanni.” It is a saying shared in many African languages, which means, “For you to have a peaceful night, your neighbor shall have a peaceful night as well.”

The essence of this proverb guides the strengthening of relations in the region. We now strive to live with our neighbors in peace and harmony. The Horn of Africa today is a region of strategic significance. The global military superpowers are expanding their military presence in the area. Terrorist and extremist groups also seek to establish a foothold. We do not want the Horn to be a battleground for superpowers nor a hideout for the merchants of terror and brokers of despair and misery. We want the Horn of Africa to become a treasury of peace and progress. Indeed, we want the Horn of Africa to become the Horn of Plenty for the rest of the continent.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a global community, we must invest in peace.

Over the past few months, Ethiopia has made historic investments in peace, the returns of which we will see in years to come. We have released all political prisoners. We have shut down detention facilities where torture and vile human rights abuses took place.

Today, Ethiopia is highly regarded for press freedom. It is no more a “jailor of journalists”. Opposition leaders of all political stripes are free to engage in peaceful political activity.

We are creating an Ethiopia that is second to none in its guarantee of freedoms of expression. We have laid the groundwork for genuine multiparty democracy, and we will soon hold a free and fair election.

I truly believe peace is a way of life. War, a form of death and destruction. Peacemakers must teach peace breakers to choose the way of life. To that end, we must help build a world culture of peace. But before there is peace in the world, there must be peace in the heart and mind.

There must be peace in the family, in the neighborhood, in the village, and the towns and cities. There must be peace in and among nations.

Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen:

There is a big price for enduring peace. A famous protest slogan that proclaims, “No justice, no peace,” calls to mind that peace thrives and bears fruit when planted in the soil of justice.

The disregard for human rights has been the source of much strife and conflict in the world. The same holds in our continent, Africa. It is estimated that some 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 30.

Our young men and women are crying out for social and economic justice. They demand equality of opportunity and an end to organized corruption. The youth insist on good governance based on accountability and transparency. If we deny our youth justice, they will reject peace.

Standing on this world stage today, I would like to call upon all my fellow Ethiopians to join hands and help build a country that offers equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunities for all its citizens. I would like to especially express that we should avoid the path of extremism and division, powered by politics of exclusion. Our accord hangs in the balance of inclusive politics.

The evangelists of hate and division are wreaking havoc in our society using social media. They are preaching the gospel of revenge and retribution on the airwaves.

Together, we must neutralize the toxin of hatred by creating a civic culture of consensus-based democracy, inclusivity, civility, and tolerance based on Medemer principles.

The art of building peace is a synergistic process to change hearts, minds, beliefs and attitudes that never ceases.

It is like the work of struggling farmers in my beloved Ethiopia. Each season they prepare the soil, sow seeds, pull weeds, and control pests. They work the fields from dawn to dusk in good and bad weather. The seasons change, but their work never ends. In the end, they harvest the abundance of their fields. Before we can harvest peace dividends, we must plant seeds of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of our citizens.

We must pull out the weeds of discord, hate, and misunderstanding and toil every day during good and bad days too. I am inspired by a Biblical Scripture which reads: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

Equally I am also inspired by a Holy Quran verse which reads: “Humanity is but a single Brotherhood. So, make peace with your Brethren.”

I am committed to toil for peace every single day and in all seasons.

I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper too.

I have promises to keep before I sleep. I have miles to go on the road of peace.

As I conclude, I call upon the international community to join me and my fellow

Ethiopians in our Medemer inspired efforts of building enduring peace andProsperity in the Horn of Africa.

ሰላም ለሁላችንም፤ ለሰላም አርበኖች እንዲሁም ለሰላም ወዳጆች።

I thank you!

Angola: President’s aide encourages African Union to stick to peaceful conflict resolution

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

A press release from EIN News Desk

The Minister of State and Chief of the Security Affairs of the President of Republic Pedro Sebastiãon Thursday [December 6] encouraged the African Union (AU), in particular its Peace and Security Council, to keep close coordination with the economic communities and regional mechanisms for the prevention, management and peaceful resolution to conflicts on the continent.,

[In Luanda, Angola}, Pedro Sebastião was speaking at the opening ceremony of the ministerial meeting of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), on behalf of Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço.  

He said that such coordination with regional mechanisms should promote national reconciliation and draw lessons from past and present processes.

It should also facilitate the exchange of experiences within the framework of the African peace and security architecture for the “silence of weapons by 2020”.
 
In view of the conflicts to continue topping the international agenda, the president’s aide defended combined efforts between the AU and the UN Security Council, as a privileged international body for the maintenance of international peace and security in order to gather resources for true solidarity between countries in response to the phenomena that still cause instability on the continent.

Among the conflicts that cause instability on the continent, he highlighted the problem of terrorism in the Sahel, Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions.  

He recalled that it was precisely in the spirit of solidarity with the “brother peoples of the Great Lakes region” that Angola was invited to contribute to the mediation process, with a view to resolving the disagreement between Rwanda and Uganda.

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Question related to this article:

Can the African Union help bring a culture of peace to Africa?

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Angola’s effort to bring together these two brother countries  resulted in the signing of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding.

Pedro Sebastião stressed in his speech that the culmination of the armed conflict in Angola, after three decades, is a living example that political will is the crucial element in achieving peace.  

In the specific case of Angola, he noted that inclusive dialogue played a decisive role in achieving lasting peace “which we carefully take care of for the maintenance of this acquired good with blood, sweat and tears.”
 
“Today we can assume that the culture of peace is a fact of life in our country,” said the Angolan leader, noting that the country is available to share its experience regarding peace and conflict management and help the countries of the continent in this matter.

The official noted, however, that Angolans are aware that peace in the country has also benefited from the valuable contribution of the African Union and its member states, where some of their children have paid with their life, highlighting the case of Maitre Aione Blondi Beye.

According to the head of the President’s Security Affairs, political stability and democracy can only be achieved through the creation of strong institutions and the adoption of behaviours that ensure the peaceful resolution to conflicts inherent in human societies.  

To him, democratic processes and inclusive systems of governance ensure the development of a national environment of stability, fostering the creation of a culture of peace.  

The most worrying cases for Angolan diplomacy and the AU’s PSC are those of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the tension in the Great Lakes region (involving Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda).
 
The official also referred to the latent conflicts  in South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), as example, where Angola is directly engaged in finding a solution.  

The PSC meeting is part of the peace-building strategy and the promotion of sustainable development.

The opening session of the meeting of the body gathered 80 entities, including 15 foreign ministers from the African Union (AU) PSC states.

Angola took over the presidency of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union on December 1.

PAYNCoP Gabon Pleads for Youth Involvement in the National Commission for Human Rights

. HUMAN RIGHTS .

An article by Jerry Bibang

The National Coordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for Peace Culture (PAYNCoP Gabon) took part, from 26 to 27 November 2019, in a sensitization workshop on National Human Rights Institutions.

Organized by the Ministry of Human Rights and the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) with the support of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the United Nations Regional Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Central Africa, this meeting brought together several experts including those of the United Nations System, the Government, the National Commission for Human Rights as well as those of the Organizations of Civil society.

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(Click here for the original French version.)

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“The goal is to operationalize the CNDH through the sharing of good practices and contributions from each other,” said the Representative of UNOCA at the beginning of the workshop.

During the work, PAYNCoP Gabon advocated for a greater involvement of civil society organizations, especially those representing young people. In this sense, the National Coordinator suggested changing the age criterion which sets the minimum age of 40 to be a commissioner at the CNDH.

“If it is possible to be a deputy or Minister at 35 in Gabon, why set the age of commissioners of the CNDH at 40 ?” questioned Jerry Bibang. “This provision constitutes a factor of exclusion and a violation of the right to participation of young people in the management of public affairs,” he explained. It is opposed to regional and international legal instruments that encourage the participation of young people including the African Youth Charter and resolution 2250 (youth, peace and security) of the United Nations Security Council, he added. before insisting that the youth component should be taken into account in the current reform of the National Commission on Human Rights.

The various proposals of the workshop aim at modifying the text creating and organizing the CNDH of Gabon in order to bring it up to international standards, in particular the principles of Paris. The draft text to be amended will be submitted to the competent authorities.

Gambia: Banjul Regional Forum 2019: Engaging Young African Leaders to Achieve the 2030 and 2063 Agendas

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An article by Debbo Mballo in Vivafrik (translation by CPNN)

The third Regional Forum of the 2017 Banjul Forum action plan took place from 28 to 30 October 2019. It was supported by UNESCO and its partners in order to better appreciate the level of the involvement of young women and men in national processes of democratization, governance, national reconciliation and the construction of a social environment conducive to the culture of peace. It facilitated exchanges to find ways and means, modalities of action, and forms of expression the most appropriate for a better commitment.

The 2019 forum focused on the roles and place of young people in governance, democracy and human rights, as well as new forms of innovative expressions and demands by young people in these processes. It was a platform to catalyze and accelerate the implementation of the African Union’s roadmap for investing in youth, with a focus on youth civic participation and youth engagement. as co-creators of sustainable solutions for Africa.

These periodic meetings consolidate a tradition of reflection, discussion and action on the place of young Gambians and West Africans in the societal space, and to better understand their roles in the processes of transformation and democratization of society. .

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question(s) related to this article:

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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The overall goal of this initiative is to strengthen the capacity of young people to exercise transformational leadership at the community, national and continental levels in the democratization process of society.

This conference planned to achieve the following specific objectives:

1. Provide a platform for sharing experiences of lessons learned and reflections on the role of youth in democratic and peaceful transitions in Africa: (Allow young Gambians to learn from other countries’ experiences and enable African youth to benefit from the experience of young Gambians);

2. To secure a space for dialogue and action among the various sections of the youth (young academics, young activists, young humanists, young social entrepreneurs, etc.) on their own concerns and perspectives as well as those of their country, their region, the continent and the global world;

3. Secure a space of intergenerational dialogue where young people can exchange with “old young leaders” around important and / or topical issues such as the issues of governance, democracy, peace, violence and so on. as well as issues related to equality and equity (including gender), the enhancement of natural and cultural heritage, social inclusion, human rights etc. ;

4. Secure a space for dialogue and action between youth and authorities on the concerns and perspectives of countries, the region, the continent and the global world with a focus for each forum on particular themes.

5. Present, enrich and validate the results of the “MOST Policy Oriented Research” entitled: “Youth and spaces of freedom in Africa: emerging forms of expression for democratization and achievement of the SDGs”, conducted at the request of young people during the 2017 Banjul Forum.