28 May 2024 07:15 AM

The African Peace & Security Council

Saturday، 24 February 2024 - 04:50 PM

The African Peace and Security Council (PSC) is the standing decision-making organ of the AU for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. It is a collective security and early warning arrangement intended to facilitate timely and efficient responses to conflict and crisis situations in Africa. It is also the key pillar of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which is the framework for promoting peace, security and stability in Africa. The Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council was adopted on 9 July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, and entered into force in December 2003. The PSC became fully operational in early 2004. The PSC Protocol, together with the PSC Rules of Procedure, the AU Constitutive Act and the conclusions of various PSC retreats, provide operational guidance to PSC activities.

Egypt signed the protocol establishing the PSC in March 2004 and deposited the ratification in March 2005. Egypt was elected as a member of the PSC four times, the last time on February 16, 2024.

In December 2006, Egypt launched the Egyptian initiative to establish a consultation mechanism between the African Peace and Security Council and the International Security Council during its presidency of the Peace and Security Council.

The importance of Egypt's membership in the PSC comes within the framework of its endeavors and efforts to play an effective role in supporting and strengthening the peace and security in Africa, especially in light of the escalating threat of terrorist organizations and armed groups.

Egypt's membership in the African Peace and Security Council

- Egypt has been elected to the PSC on four occasions

1st: 2006 to 2008 (two years)

2nd: 2012 to 2013 (two years)

3rd: 2016 to 2019 (three years)

4th: 2024 to 2026 (two years): 2024 to 2026 (two years)

Results of Egypt's membership in the African Peace and Security Council

1.       Egypt played a key role in supporting African issues and expressing the aspirations of African countries.

2.       Egypt was keen to pass resolutions that reflect its vision in dealing with the various aspects of the phenomenon of terrorism, such as combating extremist ideology and preventing the access of weapons to terrorists.

3.       Egypt hosted a number of workshops and training courses in cooperation with the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding that target conflicts between African countries.

4.       Egypt has played an important role in enhancing cooperation between the Security Council and the African Peace and Security Council and highlighting the African point of view, especially with regard to issues affecting the continent.

Objectives

1.       Promoting peace, security and stability in Africa in order to ensure the protection and preservation of the lives, property and well-being of African peoples and their environment, as well as the creation of conditions conducive to sustainable development.

2.       Anticipating and preventing conflicts: in the event of conflicts, the Council's responsibility is to assume peacebuilding and peacekeeping tasks with a view to settling these conflicts.

3.       Promoting and implementing activities related to post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction in order to consolidate peace and prevent the recurrence of violence.

4.       Coordinating and harmonizing continental efforts to prevent and combat international terrorism in all its aspects.

5.       Developing a common defense policy for the Union in accordance with Article 4(d) of the Constitutive Act.

6.       Promoting and encouraging democratic practices, good governance and the rule of law, protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, respecting the sanctity of human life and humanitarian law as part of conflict prevention efforts.

Principles

The PSC shall be guided with the principles enshrined in the Constitutive Act, the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

1.       Peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts.

2.       Early responses to contain crisis situations to prevent them from developing into full-blown conflicts.

3.       Respect for the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedoms, the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law.

4.       The interdependence between economic and social development and the security of peoples and states.

5.       Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States.

6.       Non-interference by any Member State in the internal affairs of another Member State.

7.       Absolute equality and interdependence between member states.

8.       The inalienable right to independent existence.

9.       Respect for the borders inherited at independence.

10.   The right of the Union to intervene in any member state following a decision by the Conference regarding serious circumstances such as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, in accordance with Article 4(h) of the Constituent Act.

11.   The right of any member state to request intervention from the Union to restore peace and security, in accordance with Article 4(j) of the Constituent Act.

Structure

The PSC has 15 members with equal voting powers. All members are elected by the AU Executive Council and endorsed by the AU Assembly during its ordinary sessions. For continuity, five members are elected for three-year terms and 10 for two-year terms. While there are no permanent members, the PSC Protocol does not prevent any Member States from seeking immediate re-election.

PSC members are elected according to the principle of equitable regional representation and rotation as follows.

·         Central Africa: three seats

·         Eastern Africa: three seats

·         Northern Africa: two seats

·         Southern Africa: three seats

·         Western Africa: four seats

Article 5(2) of the PSC Protocol lists criteria used in electing PSC members, including: contribution to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; participation in conflict resolution, peace-making and peacebuilding at regional and continental levels; willingness and ability to take up responsibility for regional and continental conflict resolution initiatives; contribution to the Peace Fund and/or Special Fund; respect for constitutional governance, the rule of law and human rights; and commitment to AU financial obligations.

The PSC Secretariat provides direct operational support to the PSC, and is housed within the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission.

Powers

1.       Anticipate and prevent disputes and conflicts, as well as policies, which may lead to genocide and crimes against humanity

2.       Undertake peace-making and peacebuilding functions to resolve conflicts where they have occurred

3.       Authorise the mounting and deployment of peace support missions, and lay down general guidelines for the conduct of such missions including the mandate

4.       Recommend to the Assembly, pursuant to article 4(h) of the AU Constitutive Act, intervention, on behalf of the Union, in a Member State in respect of grave circumstances, namely, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as defined in relevant international instruments

5.       Institute sanctions whenever an unconstitutional change of government takes place in a Member State

6.       Implement the AU’s common defence policy

7.       Ensure implementation of key conventions and instruments to combat international terrorism

8.       Promote harmonisation and coordination of efforts between the regional mechanisms and the AU in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa

9.       Follow-up promotion of democratic practices, good governance, the rule of law, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and respect for the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law

10.   Promote and encourage the implementation of conventions and treaties on arms control and disarmament

11.   Examine and take action in situations where the national independence and sovereignty of a Member State is threatened by acts of aggression, including by mercenaries

12.   Support and facilitate humanitarian action in situations of armed conflicts or major natural disasters.


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