Addis Ababa Current Affairs - 2019

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African Union suspends Sudan, demanding end to Military Rule

The African Union (AU) suspended Sudan until establishment of a civilian-led transition to democracy and also demanded to resolve an entrenched and bloody crisis. The decision was taken at AU’s peace and Security Council meet in Addis Ababa, (Ethiopia’s capital).

Key Highlights

  • Background: Since December 2018 Sudan has been rocked with anger over increasing bread prices and shortages, which then turned into protests against Omar al-Bashir (7th President of Sudan) and culminated in military removing him after a three-decade rule where he became a pariah in eyes of Western world. The military leadership then took control of Sudan after ouster of Omar in April 2019, but it had failed to hand over power to civilians.
  • Trigger: The call for action to be taken by African Union was mounted after recent military crackdown on protesters campaigning outside Army headquarters in Khartoum (Sudan’s Capital) killed dozens of individuals. As per a doctors’ group around 40 bodies were pulled from rive Nile, taking the total toll to at least 108.
  • Thus African Union’s Peace and Security Council with immediate effect suspended participation of Sudan in all AU activities until effective establishment of a Civilian-led Transitional Authority, as only way to allow Republic of Sudan to exit from current crisis. This move by AU intensifies global pressure on Sudan’s new military leaders to stand down after witnessing worst violence since Bashir’s fall.
  • AU also urged foreign powers to refrain from interference in Sudan’s affairs. The decision of AU in Sudan was by endorsed European Union (EU).

About African Union (AU)

  • It was established in 2002. It is a continental union with headquarter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Members: 55 countries located on African continent (expect territories possessed by European located in Africa).
  • The highest decision-making organ of AU is Assembly of African Union, a semi-annual meeting of heads of state and government of its member states.
  • AU’s secretariat, called African Union Commission is based in Addis Ababa.
  • Official bodies within AU, includes AU Peace and Security Council and the Pan-African Parliament (a representative body).
  • Some of AU’s Objective is- promoting unity and solidarity among African States; coordinating and intensifing cooperation for development; safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and promoting international cooperation within framework of United Nations (UN).

World Press Freedom Day observed on 3 May

The World Press Freedom Day 2019 is observed on 3 May 2019. It is being jointly organized by UNESCO, African Union Commission and Government of Ethiopia. The year 2019 marks 26th celebration of WPFD. The main event is being held at African Union Headquarters at Addis Ababa.

The World Press Freedom Day

It is observed to raise awareness about importance of freedom of press and freedom of expression as fundamental human rights. WPFD reminds governments of their obligation to respect and uphold right to freedom of expression defined under Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

Objective: It aims celebrating fundamental principles of press freedom, assessing state of press freedom worldwide, defending media against attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives while doing their duty.

Theme for World Press Freedom Day 2019 was “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”. It examines current challenges faced by media at the time of elections, and media’s potential in supporting peace and reconciliation processes.

Background

In December 1993 UN General Assembly (UNGA) following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day. Since then is celebrated worldwide every year.

‘May 3’ was selected to commemorate adaptation of ‘The Windhoek Declaration’ (a draft by African journalists for development of a Free, Independent and African Pluralistic Press) on 3 May 1991.