Ethiopia: AU Summit told to consider US President Trump refugee ban

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The African Union Summit underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has been asked to consider a reaction to US President Donald Trump’s order to suspend the refugee status of several African immigrants, which has seen the deportation of dozens of Africans.

“What we do about the ending of the refugee status of our people is a test to our unity and solidarity,” African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told the opening session of the 28th session of the AU Heads of State Assembly, the Summit, taking place on 30-31 January, 2017.

The AU Summit, dedicated to discussing the youth dividend in Africa, has expressed concern at the growing crisis facing the youthful population in Africa, most of who have been forced to flee the continent in search of better livelihoods and jobs in some European countries.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres, offered his praise to the African leaders for consistently opening up their borders to refugees, even when borders were being closed in developed countries around the world, without referring directly to the US President Donald Trump’s refugee ban.

“African nations host the world’s largest refugees. I thank African nations for their grand generosity of opening up borders to refugees while some in the developed world are closing theirs,” said the UN Chief, who was given a rousing welcome at his first official duty attending the AU Summit.

The AU Summit considered Africa’s potential of producing 200 million people currently aged 15-24 years as a crucial opportunity to attract investments in technology.

However, the failure to effectively utilise the opportunity to train them in such fields as engineering and other skills puts their future at risk.

The AU did not immediately declare its plan of action in the middle of the ongoing refugee ban in the US. The continental body, eager to implement a broad plan of action in enhancing the free movement of people, was urged by its Executive organ to consider retaliation in solidarity with the affected refugees.

“I do not think the US economy can hold this position of banning African refugees for far too long,” Elwaer AbdulHakim, a Libyan international expert, who campaigned for the position of the Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, told PANA.

“They are implementing the ban on refugees in complete discrimination and they would not hold for long once every country begins to retaliate."

The AU Summit was preparing to launch the debate on youth dividend on Tuesday ahead of a major discussion on the subject in May 2017 at another Summit with the EU.

The incoming AU Chairman, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, said putting an end to the suicidal-crossing of African youth to Europe and other countries, was urgent and would justify the AU’s usefulness.

The US has already deported several African citizens, including the first batch of 90 Somali refugees who were still stranded in Nairobi.
-0- PANA AO/MA 31Jan2017

31 january 2017 07:28:30

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