Communique of the 761st Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting on the prevention of ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa
The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 761st meeting held on 5 April 2018, received a briefing on the prevention of ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa and adopted the following decision:
1. Takes note of the briefings made by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, and the former Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) and member of the Senate of Rwanda, Dr. Richard Sezibera. Council also takes note of the statements made by Dr. Admore Kambudzi, Ag. Director, Peace and Security on behalf of the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, the representatives of Ethiopia and Cote d’Ivoire, in their capacities as African Members of the United Nations Security Council, and the European Union (EU);
2. Recalls its previous decisions on the prevention of ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes in Africa, particularly decision [(PSC/PR/COMM.(DCLXXVIII))] adopted at its 678th meeting held on 11 April 2017, as well as other related AU and international instruments;
3. Emphasizes that hate speeches, identity-based conflicts, hatred, the exacerbation of ethnic, racist tendencies, among others contribute to the ideology of hate which leads to hate crimes and genocide. Council further emphasizes that extremist ideology among religious groups is fostering a new ground for hate speeches and crimes and if unchecked could lead to genocide. In this regard, Council reiterates its commitment to promote religious tolerance with a view to preventing recurrence of mass atrocities, hate crime and ideologies of genocides on the continent;
4. Expresses deep concern over the negative consequences that may arise from the misuse of media, particularly social media, which has the potential of escalating the ideology of hate and genocide in the society. Council underscores that, although social media can contribute to consolidate cohesion within and between communities, it however has the potential to disrupt national unity and peace. In this regard, Council urges Member States to develop mechanisms for monitoring the use of media, with a view to ensure that media are not misused to propagate the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes. In this regard, Council stresses the importanceof strengthening early warning mechanism at all levels, national, regional and continental, in order to prevent situations, which could lead to genocide and be able to act in a timely manner;
5. Emphasizes the importance of addressing the root causes of the ideology of hate, genocide and hate crimes within and between communities and encourages Member States to enact laws and put in place legal frameworks that penalize hate speeches, ideologies of extremism among religious groups, as well as marginalization and discrimination of ethnic and tribal groups;
6. Underscores the need for embracing the culture of peace, reconciliation, healing and justice in a manner that promotes interconnection among these four fundamental elements of social stability and to prevent conflicts and mass atrocities such as genocide, in line with Assembly decision Assembly/AU/Dec.501 (XXII) and Declaration Assembly/AU/Dec.2 (XXX), in which the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government declared 2014-2024 as the Madiba Nelson Mandela decade of reconciliation in Africa and declaring 2018 as the Nelson Mandela Centenary. Council stresses the importance of promoting civic education, particularly among the youth, dialogue and the culture of peace, national reconciliation and healing, as well as prevention of hate crimes and genocide;
7. Stresses the need to prosecute perpetuators of hate and genocide crimes, in line with the AU Constitutive Act and other relevant instruments, which clearly demonstrates AU’s commitment to fighting impunity and promoting justice, reconciliation and healing. In this regard, Council reiterates its appeal to all AU Member States, which have not yet done so, to investigate, arrest, prosecute or extradite those fugitives accused as genocide perpetrators currently residing in their territories;
8. Reiterates the need for the use of proper terminology and clear analysis in order to avoid any risk of genocide denials, negationism and revisionism. In this regard, Council decides that the correct nomenclature of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda shall be: “The 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda”;
9. Welcomes the resolution 72/550 adopted on 26 January 2018 by the UN General Assembly which designates 7th April of each year as the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In this regard, Council decides to designate 7th April of each year as the African Union Day of Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda;
10. Encourages Member States to endorse and implement Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians in peace keeping operations, to monitor and report any human rights abuses in conflict areas and any situations that could lead to hate crimes and genocide;
11. Calls upon all Member States, which have not yet done so, to sign and ratify all African and international instruments related to the prevention of hate ideology, genocide and hate crimes;
12. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.