African Union Chairperson assures ICRC of strengthened partnership

The African Union Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, accepted the letter of credentials of Mr. Bruce Mokaya Orina, incoming Head of the ICRC delegation to the African Union, on 5 December 2019, at the AU Headquarters.

H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat wished Mr. Bruce Mokaya and his team support in his endeavor. He also said that the African Union lauds the ICRC's humanitarian activities in Africa and its engagement with the African Union at the diplomatic and policy level.

The AUC Chairperson expressed his appreciation for the ICRC's contribution to the AU Theme of the year "2019: "the Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa". The ICRC has presented its Updated Report of the Stocktaking exercise on the Implementation of the Kampala Convention in Africa. The year 2019 marked ten years since the adoption of the convention, which is the first ever international instrument for the protection of internally displaced persons in Africa.

Mr. Faki expressed his wish that the close collaboration on the realization of the theme of the year will continue in 2020 on the AU theme of the year "Silencing the Guns in Africa".

The two parties further discussed:

  • Africa Humanitarian Agency: Chairperson recognized the imperative for the African Humanitarian Agency to work and collaborate with organizations 'such as the ICRC that bring deep-rooted community engagement and operational experience'.
  • Youth and Volunteering: the two parties agreed that National Red Cross Societies need to tap into and strengthen this resource which is the vanguard of community resilience and response to emergencies.
  • African Solutions to African problems: the two parties agreed on the importance of strengthening local and national capacities to respond to crisis.
  • Climate crisis: Chairperson spoke of the challenges many Africa communities are facing in dealing with the climate crisis, citing floods and droughts and the need for support from, and engagement with partners.
  • On IHL and ASF: Chairperson recognized ICRC efforts in training and capacity building of Africa militaries, saying that today the African security sector is confronted with difficult situations of dealing with counter-terrorism operations yet again they need to balance that with law and order, rule of law imperatives...He asked ICRC to continue its engagement on this matter.
  • African Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: Chairperson raised concern that most African national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are weak and heavily dependent on foreign support in their activities. He further asked the ICRC to ensure support and partnership while helping build capacities for strong organizations capable of responding to crisis by their own.

The ICRC and the African Union have been cooperating on humanitarian issues for 27 years, following a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 1992. The aim of their cooperation framework is to cooperate on humanitarian issues related to victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence, promote a better knowledge, and respect for, international humanitarian law by AU Member States, provide legal support to the AU Commission for the mainstreaming of IHL into decision and policies.

The ICRC strives to tackle various humanitarian issues concerning Africa. Our work is aimed to provide protection and assistance to victims of armed conflict or other situations of violence, including children women, detainees, internally displaced people, refugees and migrants.