The African Union (AU) on Saturday marked its 56th anniversary at the headquarters of the pan-African bloc in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The Africa Day is celebrated this year under the theme: “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.”
“This theme in itself sufficiently demonstrates the acuteness of our challenges and the urgent and imperative need to work together to ensure to all African citizens the inalienable right to live free, dignified and be productive,” Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa faki Mahamat said.
The annual celebration of the Africa Day on May 25 marks the birth of the then Organization for African Unity (OAU), and now AU in Addis Ababa in 1963, following a protracted and heated debate by heads of state and government of 32 newly independent African states.
The AU said the Africa Day this year is marked to celebrate some landmark achievements of the Union on various issues, including, peace and security, continental integration, women and youth empowerment, eradication of diseases among others.
It provides opportune time to reflect on AU’s transformation and achievements and also renew commitments to realize the Africa’s vision of prosperous, peaceful and integrated Africa as embedded in Agenda 2063, the Union has said.
After centuries of domination, oppression, enslavement and slave exploitation, Africa woke up and became aware of its strength and the underlying force behind that strength: its dignity in unity, said Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa faki Mahamat.
“It is the solemn affirmation of this imperative that we celebrate today,” Mahamat said. “However, there are still many hurdles to overcome before Africa’s independence and unity fully blossom.”
“This would only come about when every African lives in peace, has free access to quality universal education, to full physical and mental health, to decent and remunerative job, to social and cultural development, to good democratic governance in the strict respect of his fundamental rights,” the Chairperson noted.
The 56th anniversary of the AU also featured the inauguration on the premises of the AU headquarters of the Memorial Wall in honor of those heroes and heroines fallen during peace support missions across the continent.
The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, told Xinhua that the Memorial Well is a kind of big symbol that always unite Africans to commemorate the sacrifice of Africans fallen for peace and stability on the continent. Enditem