Mainstreaming human rights critical to tackling terrorism —AU Commissioner

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By Mark Longyen

Amb. Bankole Adeoye, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, has said that mainstreaming human rights through compliance and accountability was crucial to tackling terrorism.

Adeoye made this known at a high-level strategic AU-EU-UN-ECOWAS steering committee partnership project meeting, for the enhancement of compliance and accountability framework for AU peace support operations on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, human rights remain critical to AU’s Agenda 2063, which entails working with multilateral partners, as well as AU recognized economic blocs towards ensuring that the region knows peace.

He said that the AU was working with UN, EU, and regional blocs through multilateral partnerships towards achieving accountability and compliance with human rights laws by security forces during conflicts.

“The AU is working with the UN Office on Counterterrorism and Peaceful Enforcement to roll out accountability and compliance and ensure that international human rights are respected.

“We must keep pace with the challenges as we can’t deploy peacekeeping forces without complying with universal human rights laws.

“The international community should continue to support the AU in these efforts as terrorism knows no bounds.

“The UN Security Council Resolution 2719 gives a stamp of authority to kinetic mechanisms, thus the need for inter-regional efforts in this regard,” Adeoye said.

While speaking on the sidelines of the event, Adeoye stressed that mainstreaming human rights compliance and accountability was crucial to tackling terrorism.

He added, “To fight the fight against terrorism, the African Union with its partners, ECOWAS and all others are saying clearly that the mainstreaming of human rights is central to the fight against terrorism.

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“It is central to the fight against violent extremism; it is central to defeating the ideology behind the spate of violence perpetrated by terrorists.

“It is central to defeating rebellion and insurrection in our continent; it is central to curbing unconstitutional changes in government by making sure that we nip it in the bud.

“The idea is to see this African Union compliance framework as a template to be rolled out in terms of capacity, in terms of protection of human rights for women, for children and for all stakeholders who are caught up in conflict.”

Adeoye said that the goal of the framework was to ensure a conflict-free Africa based on the “AU’s Agenda 2063, the Africa We Want,” which is achievable if human rights are protected.

Also speaking, Dr Abdul-Fatah Musa, ECOWAS Commissioner, Political and Security Affairs, said that compliance with human rights and humanitarian law was at the core of the establishment of ECOWAS.

He said that it was within this ECOWAS’s framework that the commission set up a standby force, ECOMOG, which intervened in the Liberian, Sierra Leonean conflicts combining both enforcement and peacekeeping operations.

“The framework to be put in place for the peace and accountability project is very crucial, especially with regards to kinetic efforts.

“We need to bring everything together under the counter-terrorism framework of ECOWAS in partnership with the AU, EU, UN, to ensure that the project sees the light of the day,” the commissioner said.

Amb. Thomas Huyghebaert, EU Head of Policy, and Cooperation, said that the EU was a strategic partner in peace support operations, adding that it had spent over 5 billion dollars over the past two decades in that regard.

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“The EU has been a long-term partner of Africa on African peace support operations, the EU has spent over five billion dollars in the past two decades in support of such operations, be it led by the AU or regional economic bloc like ECOWAS,” he said.

Also speaking, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Amb. Ilze Kehris, described the discussions as fruitful saying that the UN would look forward to the implementation of the framework to achieve its desired objectives.

“I would say that it was a fruitful discussion through the partnership engagements with the AU.

“In addition to the compliance framework there’s a broader agreement between the AU and United Nations dating from last year, which is the joint framework for human rights,” she said. (NAN)

Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja

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