ADDIS ABABA – African countries, under the African Union (AU) umbrella, have embraced a common commitment to solve uncertainties surrounding African refugees and displaced persons.
The common commitment was endorsed by envoys of the 55 AU member states who have gathered at the headquarters of the AU in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for the 37th session the AU Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) from Tuesday to Wednesday.
The PRC meeting, which was held within the framework of the 32nd AU summit slated for Feb. 10-11, turned the spotlight on the condition of African refugees and displaced persons under the theme: “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”
The two-day session also prepared the agenda of the AU summit with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the AU Executive Council session to be held from Feb. 7-8, which will bring foreign ministers of AU member countries. “As a result of civil wars and other civil strifes, a lot of Africans are displaced, and some of them have to flee and seek welfare elsewhere,” Kwesi Quartey, deputy chairperson of the AU Commission, told the PRC meeting.
Quartey said that the challenges have forced African youth to flee without hope. “Walking along the Sahara, getting drowned … sinking of vessels, they die.” “The AU’s focus this year is issues related to statelessness and displaced persons; a lot of them have to do with issues of good governance, human rights and democracy,” Quartey told reporters following the PRC meeting.
AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil Mohammed recently stressed that free movement of people, an endeavor which the African continent had embarked on over the past years, “will help reduce dangerous migration trends, mainly to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.”
Noting that more than 80 percent of African migrants took intra-Africa migration, the commissioner said that easing visa restrictions within the continent could further reduce the current 20 percent of migration to Europe and other parts of the world mainly via dangerous routes.