(WASHINGTON, D.C. August 6, 2014) – The Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN) and TASSC (Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition) International call on the United States government to make Good Governance and Human Rights in Africa a priority in the U.S.-Africa policy agenda.
The first U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington, DC on August 4-6, to enhance U.S.-Africa relations, widen U.S. trade, heighten development and security ties and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s democratic development and its people is of historical significance. The Summit provides a unique opportunity for the United States to put the democratic principles, a value the United States holds so dear, on the continental scale.
The Africa Faith & Justice Network (AFJN), dedicated to advocating for, and promoting responsible and just U.S. relations with Africa, calls for the enforcement of presidential term limits in Africa, multi-party systems, and strengthening civil society groups and citizen participation in politics. As of this Summit, five African Heads of States have collectively been in power for 163 years and still maneuvering to stay in power. We call on African leaders to respect the rule of law, their countries’ constitutional provisions for presidential term limits, and to provide space for citizens’ participation in the political process. These are essential to good governance and the promotion of peace in Africa.
We call on the United States and its European partners to work together to make achieving these goals the center of their relations with Africa. Only with citizens’ participation and the rule of law can we expect political stability and sustained economic development in Africa, which will ultimately lead to peace.
Furthermore, we call for the abolition of torture carried out in prisons, for accountability and transparency in government elections and guaranteeing the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and association of citizens. TASSC International, dedicated to providing direct services to survivors of torture and empowering them in the struggle to abolish the practice of torture around the world, call on African leaders to put an end to torture, especially of political opponents. Most TASSC survivors were persecuted due to their political affiliation and participation in their respective African countries. TASSC survivors have been subjected to horrific forms of physical and mental torture, jailed without any kind of trial or forced to sign false confessions. Perpetrators of torture must face justice in order to bring an end to this practice. .
The U.S-Africa Leaders Summit presents a unique platform to make a radical change in African governance, enforce human rights and abolish torture on the continent.