Ethiopia: AU decides to hold emergency summit on migration

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African Union leaders ended their 26th Ordinary Session here Sunday agreeing to hold an emergency Summit on Migration because they could not remain unmoved by the plight of the African youth, many of whom have fallen victims of boat tragedies in attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

African Union Chairman and Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno said the Summit resolved to hold an emergency session to discuss illegal migration and how to assist the African youth.

The date for the crisis meeting was not immediately known, but the next AU Summit is scheduled to hold in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2016.

“We are going to convene an extraordinary Assembly on the migration to Europe. Many of our people are at the bottom of the sea,” President Deby said in his closing remarks at the Summit.

President Deby, who took over the chair from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, said he was appalled at the number of young Africans drowning in the Mediterranean—their bodies left to decompose at the bottom of the sea.

Handing over the AU Chair, President Mugabe remarked that he was unhappy with the developments leading to the European Union Summit on migration in Valeta in 2015.

African and the European leaders agreed to hold a summit in Valeta to discuss the growing migration crisis between the two continents. However, most African states boycotted the summit.

“I have my disquiet on the developments leading to the EU Summit when our friends in Europe decided only a few of us would be invited. There is need for collective approach for the collective good. Let us unite for the common good and our interests,” Mugabe said.

The African leaders expressed deep concern at the lack of progress on the issue of independence for Western Sahara, which remains under colonialism more than two and half-decades after a promise to be allowed to hold a referendum to decide on their own independence.

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma decried the continuing suffering of the Western Sahara refugees and warned their continued stay in refugee camps was a risk to spreading fundamentalism.

“We need to do away with extremism, allow free speech and freedom of the media. The Year 2016 should be used to advance human rights. We have to complete the decolonization of  Western Sahara,” she told the 26th ordinary session of the AU Assembly.

Dlamini Zuma said the thousands of youths in refugee camps risked missing the African dream of prosperity and growth.

“We urge the UN Secretary-General to act before the threat of radicalization gets to the people in refugee camps and become a full force against us,” she said.

-0- PANA AO/AR 31Jan2016

31 january 2016 15:14:32

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