AFRICAN UNION PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION
By Paul Ndiho, Washington D.C
November 27, 2010
Africa has been characterized by many conflict situations that have resulted in the loss of millions of lives, widespread displacement and a wide array of human rights abuses. Today, Africa accounts for about 70 percent of the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations. But is the African Union and its sub-regional organizations, doing enough to prevent and resolve conflicts on the continent.
Africa continues to suffer from violent conflicts. In Somalia, in Sudan’s Darfur region, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo the toll has been devastating. There scarce resources are diverted to buying arm; insecurity, displacement, and destruction follows. Still Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s permanent representative to the UN and former president of the Security Council sees hope.
“There has been a lot of turbulence in Africa. About 20 years ago there were about 20 wars going on simultaneously in Africa as I speak now there are only four going on. Although they are still going on, the fact of the matter is it’s a very significant improvement from about 20 to about four. And which are these four that I’ m talking about? They are Sudan in Darfur, DRC there is still some insatiability, Somalia definitely requires some attention and the region the Lord’s Resistance Army they were a rebel group unique rebel group with no clear political objectives.”
Ambassador Rugunda says the Africa Union, in response to internal demand and international pressure, has begun to focus their attention on these regions and is trying innovative ways to resolve differences by nonviolent means.
“African Countries have said, we want the continent to be stable, we want to be democratically ruled, we believe in the rule of law and we also want to respect the human rights of people and to ensure that there are no unconstitutional changes of government.”
Commenting on the fragile situation in Somalia, Ambassador Rugunda said there is a difference between the way Africa and the rest of the world sees the situation there.
“In Africa we think the rest of the world has put more attention on piracy than dealing with piracy at its source and its base is main land Somalia. Africa firmly believes that we should deal with the main land piracy by it and his problem will disappear.”
Some analysts say that the Africa Union has adequate mechanisms to deal with its problems, to resolve conflicts and all it needs is reinforcements in terms of resources and capacity building.