For several years, countries around the Great Lakes region have been under the gush of civil conflicts that have left tens of thousands of people homeless or displaced as refugees.
The instability in the region has centered on countries such as DRC, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo Brazzaville and the Central African Republic.
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGRL) has posted an appeal to the African Union, asking the continental body to assist in finding a lasting solution to the sporadic instability that has shrouded the region for decades.
ICGRL chairperson, Rupiah Banda has told a gathering of the region’s heads of state and governments that over the past three years that the ICGLR has existed, progress had been recorded towards ensuring lasting peace and security in the region.
Banda, who is also the Zambian leader, said there was need for the African Union to grant the ICGLR special status during its meetings in order to benefit from its contributions towards peace and security.
“Over the last three years of its existence, the ICGLR has recorded some notable success in the desire to make the Great Lakes region an area of peace and stability.
For this reason, I would like to urge the African Union Commission to recognize the ICGLR as a partner in the implementation of the Tripoli Declaration as well as other African Union activities related to peace, security and development in the Great Lakes region,” said Banda.
During the opening of the annual summit of the African Union, United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon castigated the continental grouping over what he terms as ignoring the shelling in the Sudanese region of Dafur and Somalia.
Meanwhile Banda also called for peaceful and democratic elections among member countries of the Great Lakes region headed for the vote later in the year.
Banda said: “As you are aware, many of our member states including Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Sudan and others will be undergoing elections. This will be a test of the democratic process in the Great Lakes region. In the spirit of the pact on security, stability and development, I wish these countries successful and peaceful elections”.
Pic: AU military police