Civil Society groups want summit to address Human Rights

GEORGE OKORE By GEORGE OKORE, 23rd Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

The first ever Afro-America summit kicks off next month

The theme of the Summit is investing in the next generation.

African Civil Society groups demanded to be included in the official itinerary during next month’s US-Africa Leader Summit to be held in Washington DC.

With just weeks to the Summit, the organizations insist that human rights human rights and good governance must be included in the official proceedings of the August 4- 6, 2014 parley.

The first ever Afro-America summit comes at a time when Non state actors have petitioned respective governments to build and uphold strong institutions. This historic summit will bring leaders from across the African continent to the nation's capital and further strengthen ties with one of the world's most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.

The theme of the Summit is investing in the next generation. Building on the progress made since President Obama's trip to Africa last summer, the Summit will advance the focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America's commitment to Africa's security, its democratic development, and elevate the ideas of young people.

Yet, civil society is not included in the bilateral government discussions at the Summit. In June 2014, representatives of African civil society met in Washington, DC to draft a series of recommendations to the US government, African heads of state and African civil society as part of a vision for making real progress.

Mr Adam Shapiro from Front Line Defenders says President Barrack Obama must provide official space for civil society participation and to address key issues of human rights and good governance. “We demand the summit must address democratic governance, respect for human rights, rule of law, transparency and corruption and discrimination against marginalized groups,” he argues.

The event should provide opportunity for civil society to offer input on the importance of safeguarding civic space to spur social entrepreneurship, civic innovation, and development.

“We believe that the US-Africa Leaders Summit is an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill your administration’s commitment to the promotion of good governance and respect for human rights. Although priority at the summit will be given to trade, investment, security and extremism, the summit offers the chance for you to stand with those individuals who advance the cause of human rights across Africa, often at great personal sacrifice, ” states an Open letter to President Obama .

Jeffrey Smith from Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights these issues and recommendations should be addressed at the upcoming Summit and that civil society be present as equal stakeholders in the future of U.S.-Africa relations.
“African civil society must have a seat at the table as equal partners at the Leaders Summit. For the Summit to be a true success, civil society must be included in the official meetings,” he says.

Many organizations have expressed concern that the summit will neglect foundational issues of governance and human rights that so often prevent ordinary Africans from living with dignity. They say ignoring these issues often leads to proliferation of extremist groups, social instability, corruption, and chronic underdevelopment.

A crucial component to combating these ongoing concerns and to achieving broad-based human development is to ensure the participation and involvement of all stakeholders, including both government officials and civil society.


Barrack Obama, Political Correctness, Usa

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author avatar GEORGE OKORE
George Okore is an international media consultant, resource person/facilitator, projects/programs manager, community leader, negotiator, advocate and author/writer/columnist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
24th Jul 2014 (#)

I do hope everyone believes in unity in diversity and the real change has to emanate from our hearts. Let us believe not only in the oneness of humanity but also in total creative process and think and act how we can play a meaningful part in this humongous process - siva

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