The African Union’s 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of heads of states and governments began on a high note on Saturday.
At the headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, the AU conveyed the session on human rights with special emphasis on women for a prosperous Africa.
“We must continue to place our people and their basic human rights at the center of Agenda 2063. This includes our people’s rights to education, to food, nutrition, to health, to safe water, sanitation, to jobs,” Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson, AU Commission said.
This crisis requires the most serious and urgent commitment from all of us. I applaud you for taking collective responsibility and acting decisively.
Nevertheless, regional peace and security dominated the talks with Burundi at the forefront of debates. Taking to the stage, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged African leaders to work together to avert the current crisis in Burundi.
‘‘This crisis requires the most serious and urgent commitment from all of us. I applaud you for taking collective responsibility and acting decisively. The United Nations stands ready to support your efforts,” Ban Ki-moon said.
Meanwhile, the AU has said it will not deploy troops to Burundi without consent from the government. Only last year, the 54-member state body announced that it would send 5,000 peacekeepers to Burundi in order to prevent the country from sliding back into civil war.
Nevertheless, Burundi rejected the plans of AU, terming it as ‘‘invasion’‘.
Since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election in the widely disputed contest, the small East African country has witnessed a wave of unrests that have resulted to the deaths of more than 400 people.