African Union heads of state and government to discuss human rights with a particular focus on the rights of women

aucThe headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will from Thursday 21 January to Sunday 31 January 2016, host the 26th AU Summit. Holding under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”. The Summit will bring together policy making Organs of the Union, representatives from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Private Sector, the Diaspora, partner organisations, continental and international media and dignitaries as well as invited guests world-wide.

The 26th AU Summit will officially start with the 31th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) on Monday 21 January 2016. The PRC will discuss items on its agenda and prepare appropriate recommendations for consideration by the the Executive Council before submission to the Assembly of the Union for adoption. The opening session of the PRC will include among others, a speech by the Chairperson of the PRC, and a welcome remark by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, followed by a group photo of the Ambassadors with the Members of the Commission.

For three days, the Ambassadors will consider the reports of the various activities of their sub-committees including the Advisory Sub-Committee on Administrative, Budgetary and Financial Matters; theSub-Committee on Programmes andConferences; the Sub-Committee on Structural Reforms; theSub-Committee on Audit Matters; the Sub-Committee on Multilateral Cooperation and the Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. They will also deliberate on the report of the Sub-Committee on Contributions; the Sub-Committee on Economic and Trade Matters; the Sub-Committee on NEPAD; the Policy Sub-Committee of the Special Emergency Fund for Drought and Famine in Africa; the Sub-Committee on Headquarters and Host Agreements;and the Sub-Committee on Rules, Standards and Credentials.

With regards to the reports of the AU Organs, items to be discussed by the PRC will include: the report of the Commission on the implementation of the previous Decisions of the Executive Council and the Assembly of the African Union; the report of the Commission on Palestine and the Middle East and the Annual Report of the Commission.

The reports of the Specialized Technical Committees (STCs) meetings held over the last six months will also be on the agenda of the PRC. They are: the First Ordinary Session of the STC on Communication and Information Technology (STC- ICT);the STC on Education, Science and Technology (STC-EST); the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs; the STC on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons;the STC on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons; the STC on Gender and Women Empowerment; and the Extraordinary Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security.

The reports on the activities of the other AU Organs such as the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR); the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR); the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the Africa Union (ECOSOCC); the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC); and the African Union Advisory Board on the Fight against Corruption (AUABC)will also be considered by the Ambassadors. They will also exchange views on the draft agenda as well as the draft Decisions and Declarations of the 28th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, and those of the 26th AU Summit, before adopting their report. The meeting of the PRC will officially end on Saturday 23 January 2016.

Meanwhile, the Twenty Eighth (28th) Ordinary Session of the Executive Council will hold on 27 and 28 January 2016. This will be preceded by a Ministerial retreat of the Executive Council scheduled to take place on 25 January 2016 in Mekele, Ethiopia. The official opening ceremony of the Executive Council on 27 January 2016 will include the following: welcome remarks by the Chairperson of the Executive Council; statement by the Chairperson of the AU Commission; statement by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); and a group photo of the Ministers. Later, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Relations and other ministers or authorities duly designated will reconvene in close session to deliberate on the different items on their agenda including the consideration the report of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC);the Annual report of the Chairperson of the Commission for the period January to December 2015 and the revised AUC budget for the 2016 Financial Year.

The Executive Council will further consider the report of the Ad-hoc Ministerial Committee on the Scale of Assessment; the Ministerial Committee on African Candidatures in the International System; the progress report of the Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of the OAU/AU Treaties; the follow up Committee on Agenda 2063; and the report of the Ministerial Committee on Elections of the Members of the Commission in June/July 2016.

Among the high moments during the Executive Council will be the election and appointment of the fifteen (15) members of the Peace and Security Council and that of one (1) member of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC).

On the other hand, the twenty sixth (26th) Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union is scheduled to take place on 30 and 31 January 2016. The first part of the Summit will be dedicated to the election of the New Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2016, who will take over from the AU Chairperson for 2015, H.E Mr. Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. The Summit will then proceed with the launching of the theme “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”, before the group photo of the AU Heads of State and Government. The media are expected to cover the official opening ceremony and the photo sessions.

A joint press conference addressed by the new Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and the Chairperson of the AU Commission will crown the 26th AU Summit.

For more information on media accreditation and coverage of the Summit please visit the 26th AU Summit web link: summits.au.int/en/26thsummit/accreditation

Journalists are invited to cover the official opening and closing ceremonies of the 31stOrdinary Session of the PRC, the 28thOrdinary Session of the Executive Council and the 26thOrdinary Session of the AU Assembly.

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Marc Mcilhone
Marc Mcilhone is AfricanBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how African innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: editor@africanbrains.org