Your Excellency, Musa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission:
We write to you as African citizens who have dedicated our lives to the cause of development in a vibrant, self-determining African continent and for the welfare of African people around the world. We are deeply concerned about the growing security and humanitarian situation in the Sahel region, especially after the assassination of Chadian President Idris Deby. Now, much more than ever, it is time for the African Union to take action to help end the Sahel tragedy.
Central Sahel, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, faces some great challenges for peace and development. These three Sahelian countries are some of the poorest countries in the world. The situation that the people of this region have faced is the recent People’s Coalition for the Sahel, the Sahel: What Needs to Change is highlighted in a recent report.
2020 was the deadliest year for civilians due to various security crises. More than 2,440 civilians were killed in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. More innocent civilians and suspected criminals were killed by state security forces last year than jihadist groups. Nearly two million people were forced to flee their homes, a figure that has increased 20-fold in just two years. About 13 million girls and boys have been denied access to education.
Your Excellency, African citizens behind these figures are driven to a new level of frustration by the unprecedented escalation of violence in the last six months. A number of different armed groups have burned villagers alive, killed others with bombs and pulled people off buses to execute them on the side of the road. Violence is already creating a serious humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, worse.
As the front-lines continue to change, many families have been forced to flee their homes, traveling for weeks or even months, leaving everything behind and risking their lives for safety in other areas, multiplying their vulnerabilities. Our concern as African citizens is that these vulnerabilities are at risk of becoming irreversible; Every time people are displaced, social cohesion is broken, communities are broken and nations are broken. The immediate victims of this unfolding tragedy are Sahelian women and young people who have very little opportunity to study or make a living. The hope of the future is fading before the eyes of millions of young people.
Sahelians’ public opinion is questioning French involvement in the subcontinent as a deep political issue over their country’s sovereignty, especially in the French military presence. The African Union will promote partnerships and approaches to the “African solution to the African problem” mantra that builds the legitimacy of Sahelian states in determining their own issues, despite the support of partners.
Your Excellency, the Sahel region cannot rely on military solutions alone to defuse tensions. In this case, we have validated the People’s Coalition’s recommendation that the EU’s strategy for Sahel should be unified, with a people-centered approach that involves protection, development and governance based on this concept.
Improved governance and inclusive dialogue should be supported at various levels of the EU (local, national, regional and global) with a view to achieving sustainable and sustainable solutions for sustainable peace, security and development.
In line with its mandate, the EU should provide leadership by supporting regional and sub-regional structures and coordinate multiple interventions led by governments and development partners. We believe that through such an approach, the EU’s Agenda 2063 vision can be modeled on the Sahel and the region can be stabilized to prevent irrationality.
Your Excellency, the AU needs to respond more determinedly to Sahel’s dire security conditions. Re-establishing stability in Sahelian countries should continue as a priority, and in that context it will be important for the EU and ECOWAS to engage more in fundamental reforms, especially good governance and security, as a means of recovery. . Access to justice should be part of long-term national security strategies.
We look forward to ATU’s increased engagement in the sub-region and, more importantly, appoint a high-level representative to Mali and Sahel to provide the leadership needed by the EU on an urgent basis.
Your Excellency, Millions of citizens of Sahel, especially women and youth, are interested in your leadership and looking to your leadership to protect their human rights.
As part of our commitment to promoting Africa’s shared values, the integration of Africa’s peace, security and development. Dedicated and ready to support the effort, which is an important part of Sahel
Your Excellency, We wish you good health as you conduct the African Union Commission as a great tool for peace, stability and development on the continent.
Alion Tyne (Mr.), Founder, Africaism Center, Dakar, Senegal
Baham Tom Mukirya Niyanduga (Mr.). Chairperson Ad Intermediate-African Union Watch, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Kumba Tore (Mrs.). Writer, storyteller, human rights activist, Akra, Ghana
Fidon Maombeki (Rev. Dr.) Secretary General, All Africa Council of Churches, Lome, Togo
Kumi Naidu (Professor) Global Ambassador, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Glory, Johannesburg, South Africa
Lamin Syedkhan (Mr.). Award-winning Pan African Advocate and Human Rights Activist, Banjul, Gambia
Patrick Loch Otiano Lamumba (Professor). PLO Lamumba Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the author and his editorial position on Al Jazeera.