CONSULTATION : Africa Union Shared Values

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On the 16th and 17th of October 2010, civil society from across in East Africa convened under the joint aegis of the East Africa Civil Society. Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) and the Centre for Citizens’ Participation in the African Union (CCP – AU) to discuss shared Values between the African Union (AU) and the East African Community (EAC).

The meeting follows the decision of the 16th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) which recommended vide decision (EX.CL/Dec.525 [XVI]) to make Shared Values the theme of the Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January/February 2011. It further noted the need to put in place a Pan-African Architecture on Governance and identify obstacles and measures to be adopted to facilitate continental integration based on such shared values.

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COMMUNIQUE FROM THE EAST AFRICA CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS FORUM Snow Crest Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania, October 16th-17th, 2010

COGNIZANT of the common vision toward a united and strong African through regional pillars such as the East African Community as enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the African Union;

RECOGNIZING that all EAC states are parties to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the significant steps by a majority of Partner States in ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Governance and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human an Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women;

APPRECIATE all the steps taken by the AU in adopting norms, principles and policies aimed at promoting democracy, rule of law good governance, respect for human rights and social political development in Africa with the full participation of Civil Society in Africa and which form part of the values they share in the current integration process we’re experiencing;

TAKING NOTE of the recommendation of the 16th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union[1] to make Shared Values the theme of the Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January 2011, put in place a Pan-African Architecture on Governance and identify obstacles and measures to be adopted to facilitate continental integration based on such shared values.

NOTING that these values can play a critical role in transforming Africa, regional integration and sustainable development;

RECOGNIZING that whilst these shared principles and values have been consistently articulated in many Treaties, Declarations and Resolutions adopted by the EAC, their consolidation, implementation and other obstacles remain a major challenge among the partner states;

ACKNOWLEDGING that the EAC as a building block of integration in Africa is willing to play a strong orientation in ensuring that they are shared and practiced across the region;

NOTING the need at both the African Union and East African Community work in close partnership with all segments of civil society;

WE THE MEMBERS of East Africa Civil Society convened under the leadership of the East African Civil Society Organizations Forum (EACSOF) in collaboration with the Centre for Citizens Participation in the African Union (CCP – AU), representing the five (5) Partner States namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda identified our shared values inherent in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African within the areas of human rights, democracy, elections governance and gender as;

1. In line with Human Rights, the sanctity of life, tolerance of diversity and take into account the basic need and conditions necessary for human survival;

2. Regarding democracy, elections and governance, we believe in equitable and effective participation, accountability, transparency and integrity; holding free, fair and participatory elections as core values in democracy, good governance and elections;

3. Concerning gender, we share values of protection against Gender Based Violence and, discrimination and promoting health as a basic human rights; gender equality and gender equity;

CONCERNED that in the area of Human Rights;

i. There is insufficient ratification and domestication in the Partner States of continental and regional human rights instruments;

ii. There has been inadequate response of the Partners states to gross human rights violations occurring in East Africa;

iii. That abductions, kidnapping and illegal transfer of people accused of serious crimes such as terrorism is ongoing;

iv. There is notable prevalence of impunity especially among state agencies;

v. There is a lack of appropriate protection of human rights defenders;

vi. The extension of the jurisdiction of the East African Court of justice has not been finalised;

vii. There has been inadequate access to justice for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable members of society;

WE FURTHER TAKE NOTE WITH CONCERN that in relation to democracy, elections and governance;

i. That the majority of EAC Partner States have not ratified and domesticated the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

ii. There is need for increased political will to fight grand corruption in the region;

iii. There is an absence of a regional mechanism monitoring the Partner States compliance to Democracy, Elections and Governance principles and values;

iv. There is insufficient separation of powers within the arms of national governments;

v. There is limited participation and space of opposition parties in political processes and governance;

vi. There is increase in politically motivated election related violence and gender based violence;

vii. There is slow progress towards full and active participation and effective representation in political processes and leadership at all levels especially among women and the youth;

CONCERNED with Gender equality;

i. That there continues to be existence of gender insensitive laws and policies at national and regional level;

ii. Of the high level of general ignorance and misconceptions of gender as a social construct;

iii. Of the lack of regional Gender Based Violence (GBV) policies and inadequate implementation of national policies;

iv. Of the lack of a comprehensive regional monitoring and evaluation and inadequate implementation of national Monitoring and Evaluation framework;

v. Of the underrepresentation and meaningful participation of women in key missions such as peacekeeping and conflict resolution

vi. Of the existence of harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and forced and early marriages

WE the participants to the Consultative Meeting therefore resolve and RECOMMEND;

The EAC and AU Partner States speed up the process of domestication and implementation of the various continental and regional protocols and declarations aimed at promoting women’s rights, press freedoms, access to information and regional integration, among others and to put in place implementation, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms;

Put in place a programme to enhance awareness creation with particular focus to effective use of public media and further hold and support civic education programmes regarding all continental and regional instruments and policies vis-à-vis regional integration and human rights;

Institutionalise and the strengthen of the mandate of civil society participation in the EAC and AU to ensure their full and active participation in the development and implementation of EAC and AU decisions;
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We further recommend with regard to Human Rights;}}

i. Urge the AU to operationalize the Human Rights Fund created in 2003 in Kigali (Rwanda) by the Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Africa to deal with issues such as effective reparations and capacity building of national, regional and continental human rights institutions;

ii. The abolishment of the death penalty in East Africa as an inhumane form of punishment;

iii. The guarantee of humane treatment of accused persons and prisoners while in lawful custody;

iv. The development mechanisms to compel Partner States to comply with the Rule of Law be set up and operationalised;

v. Hasten the passing of the draft EAC HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Bill, 2010;

vi. Enhance the administration of justice through increased budgetary allocation and capacity building, including facilitating legal aid and awareness policy, and engendering the role of CSOs facilitating the aforementioned;

vii. Accelerate the finalisation of the Protocol Extending the Jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice;

viii. Carry out wide consultations with a broad base of stakeholders such as CSOs in the vetting and appointment of individuals to Human Rights mandated bodies;

ix. Increase the involvement and participation of community leaders and elders in the enforcement of human rights be guaranteed and appreciated;

With a view toward enhanced democracy, elections and governance;

i. Establish a regional elections standards body to monitor regional elections;

ii. Institutionalize shadow governments in the governance systems at the national level in order to promote political pluralism;

iii. Fully observe the principles of freedom of association and speech;

iv. Expeditiously develop the EAC Peace and Security architecture in particular, giving attention to the Early Warning System with a view to curbing election related violence.

v. Developing mechanisms at the EAC aiming at compelling its Partner States to sign, ratify and domesticate and implement, continental and regional instruments on governance, elections and corruption;

To promote gender equality and protection against gender based discrimination we urge;

i. Partner States to protect individuals against Gender Based Violence and Discrimination;

ii. Promote health as a basic human right;

iii. EAC partner States to sign, ratify, domesticate and implement all regional and continental treaties on gender equality;

iv. EAC Partner States to adopt a regional gender protocol;

v. Partner States to further promote public-private partnerships on promoting gender issues;

vi. EAC Partner States to involve the community in elimination of bad and harmful traditional practices;

vii. Partner States to enhance the technical and human capacity at the EAC dealing with gender issues;

Partner States to allocate 15% of their respective national budgets toward health in accordance with the Maputo Protocol; We Members of the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum Commit to;

i. Our intentions to align and harmonize civil society actions towards achieving both national and regional governance and development objectives;

ii. Constructive engagement in national, regional and international development initiatives and with other regional bodies such as the African Union and the East African Community;

iii. Offering effective collaboration and support during the development of the Shared Values, their implementation and monitoring of processes.

iv. Enhancing efficient, effective, transparent and accountable practices as evidenced by the ongoing process of developing guidelines and principles for the legal and operating environment for Civil Society at the EAC.

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