NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 13 – The sixth continental peace and security conference got underway in Nairobi on Thursday, in what will culminate into the adoption of next year’s programme for the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC).
The 6th AU Peace and Security in Africa seminar being attended by senior officials including State Ministers of Foreign Affairs Hiruti Zemen Kassa (Ethiopia) and Mohamed Ali Hassan (Djibouti) was officially opened by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.
Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia – currently serving as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – sent representatives to the seminar.
Under Article 7 of the AU Protocol, the PSC is tasked with among other duties prevention of conflicts that may lead to crimes against humanity, and undertaking peace-making, peace-building and peace-support missions.
The Council can recommend interventions in AU member States where war crimes and genocide has been reported.
The PSC can also institute sanctions against member states.
Other central roles played by the organ include the implementation of common defence policy, marshalling support to combat international terrorism, promotion of democracy and good governance, implementation of conventions and treaties on arms control and disarmament, and supporting humanitarian action.
The PSC comprises 15 member states elected on the principle of equitable regional representation with three seats allocated to Central African countries, three to East African states, two set aside for Northern Africa, three for Southern Africa, and four shared among Western Africa nations.
Members are listed on the PSC on the basis of their individual contribution to the maintenance and promotion of peace and security in the continent, commitment to financial obligations, participation in conflict resolution, as well as peace-building.
Article 5 (2) of the PSC protocol also recognizes the willingness of countries to take part in resolution of regional and continental conflicts, contribution to the Peace Fund, and respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law, and human rights.
Under Article 8 of the PSC protocol, members of the organ require to marshal a two-thirds majority to make binding decisions where consensus cannot be reached.
In a recently adopted resolution following the 812th meeting of the PSC in Addis Ababa, the Council announced renewed efforts in the fight against terrorism while urging for continent-wide support to address the influx of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).
“The Council requests the Commission, in cooperation with Member States, to urgently compile a continental list composed of a database of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including FTFs,” the 15-member council stated in a communiqué dated November 23.
“In the same context, Council calls on the members of the international community to share with AU Member States, the lists of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including their nationals identified as FTFs,” PSC resolved.
The Council set out to lobby for support to build the capacities of AU member States to enable them deal with the challenge of terrorism.