El-Sissi Elected as New Chairman of African Union

The President of Egypt Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been elected as the new Chairman of the African Union at its Summit in Ethiopia. This has sparked off major voicing of concerns from the human rights group Amnesty International. While addressing the summit, Sissi said that he would focus on improving peace and security in the African continent. Sissi replaces Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

What is the African Union?

  • It is a continental union of 55 countries of Africa
  • However, various territories of European countries in Africa is not included
  • The Sirte Extraordinary Session was held in 1999, where it was decided to establish an African Union.
  • The Lome Summit adopted the Constitutive Act of the Union in the year 2000
  • The Lusaka Summit drew the road map for the implementation of EU
  • The Durban Summit launched the AU and the 1st Assembly of the Heads of States of the African Union was convened
  • The intention of the AU was to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa
  • The main administrative capital is in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia
Who is Amnesty International? What is their problem with El-Sissi?

Amnesty International is a London-based NGO that focuses on Human Rights. It was founded in the year 1961 and its headquarters is situated in London.

Abdel Fattah el-Sissi is the sixth and current President of Egypt  who has been in office since 2014.

  • Sissi was the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army that staged a military coup and removed the then Egyptian Mohammed Morsi in the year 2013.
  • He dissolved the Egyptian Constitution of 2012 and called for a new political roadmap to administer the country.
  • An interim government was set up in the country, wherein Adly Mansour was made the interim President. The interim Government carried out many suppression activities of protests and the liberal factions of Egypt.
  • In August 2013, Egyptian forces under the command of el-Sissi raided two camps of protesters in Cairo – al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya square. Supporters of ousted President Morsi were there. The camps were cleared within a matter of hours and was described as “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history” by Human Rights Watch. This was called the August 2013 Rabaa massacre.
  • In March 2014, he retired from the military to run for President and won handsomely.
  • Amnesty International says that Egypt has politically attacked the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the mechanism monitoring African states’ human rights records viciously since 2015.
  • There have been mass killings of protesters, enforced disappearences, deaths following unfair trials and widespread crackdown on freedom of expression.
  • The Egyptian Parliament is also trying to bring in constitutional amendment that would enhance military trials by undermining the independence of the judiciary and allowing el-Sissi to remain as President till 2034.

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