December 8, 2016 By Abdul Karim Koroma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
On Monday, 5th December, 2016 Sierra Leone assumed leadership of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) and held its first meeting under the chairmanship of Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara, Sierra Leone’s multi accredited envoy to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, to consider and adopt the “Draft Provisional Programme of Work of the Peace and Security Council for the month.
Upon consideration and subsequent adoption of the Draft Provisional Programme of Work, Council commenced consideration of the PSC Field Mission to the Republic of South Sudan, where Council continues to receive reports of fragile security situation, political turmoil, dire humanitarian catastrophe, very serious and unprecedented economic crisis etc.
All meetings of the PSC will be chaired and moderated by Sierra Leone, either by His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma – in the event of an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union Peace and Security Council of the Assembly – or by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Samura Kamara, in case of an Extra-Ordinary Executive Council Meeting of the Council, or by Ambassador Kamara at Council level.
Some of the items and reports that would be deliberated upon by Member States of the PSC include briefing on the situation in Guinea Bissau; presentation of the outcome of the meeting of the Ad-Hoc High Level Committee on Libya, held at the level of Heads of State and Government on 8th November 2016; consideration of the Draft African Union Master Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020; situation in the Democratic of Congo (DRC); briefing on elections in Africa by the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission; briefing on the outcome of the Retreat of the AU Special Envoys/Special Representatives on Silencing the Guns in Africa, held in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt; among others.
Like the United Nations Security Council which is responsible for the maintenance of global peace and security, the PSC, which was established in 2002, is the supreme decision making organ of the African Union for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts on the continent. Some of the key functions of the PSC include to anticipate and prevent disputes and conflicts as well as policies which may lead to genocide and crimes against humanity; undertake peace-making, peace-building and peace-support missions; institute sanctions; recommend intervention in a Member States in respect of grave circumstances, namely war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity; follow-up promotion of good governance, the Rule of Law, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for the sanctity of human life and international humanitarian law, among others.
The PSC comprises 15 Member States, which are elected by the African Union Executive Council and endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State.
Sierra Leone is among the 15 Member States of the African Union tasked with the responsibility of maintaining peace and security on the continent.