Home | News    Friday 19 July 2013

Nigeria, AU criticised for hosting Sudan’s Bashir at summit

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

July 18, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday criticised the African Union (AU) and Nigeria for allowing Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir to attend a special summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria held in Abuja.

The EU delegation held talks with AU and Ethiopian officials on a number of national and continental concerns, as part of an official visit to Ethiopia.

Barbara Lochbihler, who led the delegation, said the AU’s position towards the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the failure of Nigeria to arrest Bashir undermines the work of the ICC and victims’ fight for justice.

The 54-member continental bloc has called on member states not to cooperate with the ICC arrest warrant for Bashir.

The Sudanese president left for Nigeria on Sunday, but cut short his visit the following day after calls for his arrest intensified.

Nigeria has also come under fire after the government refused to arrest Bashir and surrender him to the ICC.

However, Nigerian officials dismissed criticism, saying the Sudanese president was in Nigeria at the invitation of the AU and not as a guest of the federal government.

“President al-Bashir was in Nigeria under the auspices of the AU, based on the assembly’s decision to convene the special summit in Abuja to deal with three diseases that together constitute a heavy burden on member states”, a statement by the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The ICC issued two arrest warrants against Bashir in 2009 and 2010 for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed in Darfur.

CALLS FOR JOURNALISTS’ RELEASE

Meanwhile, the EU delegation has urged the Ethiopian government to release jailed journalists and activists who remain detained under the country’s anti-terrorism law.

“Despite the country’s excellent constitution, we note flaws in the impartiality of the judicial system”, Lochbihler told journalists at a news conference.

“Therefore we also call on the Ethiopian authorities to release all journalists, members of the opposition and others arbitrarily detained or imprisoned for exercising their legitimate right to freedom of expression, freedom of association, as well as freedom of religion and belief”, Lochbihler added.

They have also called for reforms to the broadly defined and controversial anti-terrorism law introduced in 2009.

The calls by the EU delegation comes after tens of thousands of opposition members and supporters held demonstrations on Sunday in the towns of Gonder and Dessie, calling for the immediate release of detained political prisoners.

Last month, Ethiopian government spokesperson Shimels Kemal told Sudan Tribune that the east African nation does not hold any political prisoners.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 19 July 2013 15:08, by Eastern

    But when was the last time Africans and AU criticized Europeans and EU? Bashir may be an evil man but that does not give rights for Europeans and EU meddling in African issues! It time African and AU keep this imperialist mentality at bay. Continuous meddling in African business is neo-colonialism at its best!! The Eastern Hills!

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  • 19 July 2013 18:46, by Kerudhethout

    Bashir must be arrested . But to ease his arrest, the ICC should hire and deploy the ICC police personals in each Country around the world. The membership does not automatically grantee and oblige any citizen of any Country i.e ICC member to stand as police personal against any wanted man. Bashir is an evil but that does not oblige any one to deserve his arrest any how, any time and any wher

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