African Parliamentarians Emphasis The Value Of Education And Human Rights During The 4th Parliament Opening
Johannesburg, South Africa – The role of education and human rights received priority during the opening of the secondary ordinary session of the Fourth Pan African Parliament in Midrand today.
President of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Roger Nkodo Dang emphasised these themes in his opening address, while delegates fervently appealed for human rights advocacy both as PAP, and as member state representatives.
President Nkodo Dang welcomed the presence of two African Union Commissioners, H.E Dr Aisha Abdullahi and H.E Mr Martial Ikounga, tasked to inform the House on issues of governance and education. He further welcomed Prof Eddie Maloka, Executive Director of the APRM Secretariat and Fourth Vice-President Honourable Dr Bernadette Lahai for the role they play in the advancement of education.
President Nkodo Dang said the Rights of Women will take an honorary space during this sitting’s agenda with a debate on the 2016 African Union theme “Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women” taking place on Thursday 12 May. The Parliament highlighted and welcomed the presence of H.E Mama Fatima Singhateh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Gambia for her role in this regard.
In their Messages of Solidarity, several parliamentarians have expressed the critical role of the PAP in the promotion of education and human rights, in particular the rights to women and children.
Mr Clifford Rotimie Marcus Roberts, from the Educationist College of Medicine Health & Allied Sciences (COMHAS) within the University of Sierra Leone, reiterated the importance of the PAP’s role in formulating model laws to advance the state of education within their governments. The role of PAP to enable members to push for domestic budgets in their country of origin, and work with the private sector to partake in skills development programmes cannot be underemphasised, he said.
H.E Dr Nafie Ali Nafie, Secretary General of the African Council of Political Parties, called on all African governments to recognise the significance of women in political processes, and ensure the effective distribution of human rights for the adoption of fair policy development.
H.E Hon Mohamed Ali Houmed, Speaker of the National Assembly of Djibouti, said his country making notable progress in gender equality, prioritising a Family Code to address the rights of women and children, and increasing women in ministerial portfolios.
PAP needs to pause and critically reflect on our milestones of gender equality pleaded Rt. Hon AN Motsamai, speaker of the Lesotho National Assembly. She lauded the PAP for choosing the theme of Human Rights, but said this calls for a renewed commitment to gender equality, especially as the change of patriarchal mind-sets remains a mammoth task for Africa.
H.E Victor Bockarie Foh, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, concluded the day’s proceedings with a call to all African parliamentarians to promote human rights in light of Africa’s growing democracies. The Pan African Parliament, he says, stands as vivid testimony of the changing political landscape that has witnessed the creation of multi-party states in Africa.
It is important for governments and national parliaments to double their efforts on human rights to live out the pledge of the Pan African Parliament at country level.