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General News of Thursday, 19 March 2015

Source: Nii Armah Akomfrah

Nkrumah Chairs African Taskforce

Addis Ababa, 18 March 2015.

An audience of Representatives from African Sub Regional Organizations together with the African Union Commission gathered in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to hear Hon. Samia Yaba Nkrumah launch the initiative of the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, dedicated to the creation of a report on the capabilities of African regional institutions to prevent mass atrocities.

Hon. Nkrumah was called by the Budapest Centre to serve as Co-Chair of the African Task Force on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities, together with Professor Chris Landsberg, a top African scholar from the University of Johannesburg.

In March 2013, as part of its activities, the Budapest Centre established an EU Task Force on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities ( and released a Report on the strengths and weaknesses of the European Union to prevent atrocities. The Report has been received by some main actors of the International Community as a ground-breaking initiative to develop tools for Member States and institutions of the European Union to better address the risks and challenges relating to mass atrocities. The Report was the result of a year-long work of a group of experts that produced several recommendations and was introduced by Hon. Emma Bonino, Italian radical party leader and former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former EU Commissioner, Elmar Brok, Member of the European Parliament, and Mark Mallock-Brown, former United Nations Deputy-Secretary General . These initiatives are built on the basis of a project implemented by US Governmental Agencies and co-chaired by Madeleine K. Albright and William S. Cohen for providing a blueprint that enabled the United States, along with international partners, to take preventive action to forestall the spectre of perspective genocide and mass atrocities. That initiative considerably contributed to the creation of the US Atrocity Prevention Board by President Barack Obama.

The African Task Force will map the present capabilities and challenges faced by regional organizations in Africa (AU, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC and ICGLR) as well as their efforts in preventing political instability into practice and making mass atrocities prevention a priority in their policies.

The African Task Force is composed of leading African experts and scholars that today presented their initial findings on the mechanisms at the disposal of the Organizations involved in the research to prevent conflicts and atrocity crimes.

Hon Nkrumah explained in her key note speech that "It is a shared responsibility of the African Union and regional economic communities in Africa to enhance their efforts and cooperation for preventing massacres, in line and in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Peace and Security between the African Union and Regional Economic Organizations in 2008. To that end, the African Union has also established the African Peace and Security Structures which serves as a solid framework for ensuring stability and development on the continent. The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance constitutes the fundamental basis for charting a future where the basic human rights could be exercised and the African peoples can pursue their aspirations and respond to the immense challenges of the 21 century"

She concluded saying that "The significance of human rights and democracy from the perspective of genocide and other mass atrocities lies in the fact that prevention of these crimes is necessary to ensure equal rights, equal respect for human rights, diversity and dignity of each individual regardless of their identity. They help to eliminate political and social inequalities and protect vulnerable groups".

Nii Armah Akomfrah CPP Director of Communication www.convention

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