Monday, January 23, 2006

The African Union's Moral Dilemma

The African Union is currently holding its annual summit in Khartoum, Sudan. According to the traditions of the AU, the summit host becomes president of the union for the coming year. This means that Sudan, one of the world's worst violators of human rights, is supposed to take over leadership of an organization that espouses protections of human rights and democratic principles.

The AU is at a crossroads. It can allow Sudan to assume the presidency, and consign itself to the ashbin of history. The AU has not done too well as of late, with, among other problems, its peacekeepers struggling to contain regional conflicts in Ivory Coast and Ethiopia and its inability to deal with the escalating problems in Zimbabwe. These problems all stem from the same problems that cripple the UN: a blind commitment to sovereignty and an unwillingness to condemn member nations or declare their practices illegal or abhorrent. If the AU wants to matter on its own continent, let alone on the world stage, it needs to take a stand and dedicate itself to upholding and spreading democracy and human rights. Better a strong less-inclusive AU that assists with lifting its member nations out of the sea of human misery in which they swim than an egalitarian institution that accomplishes nothing.

No comments: