PAP Committee on Cooperation tackles the growing threat of terrorism in Africa

The Pan-African Parliament Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict resolution concentrated on the issue of terrorism on the third day of the August Sitting currently underway at the House of Representatives of Egypt.

According to the Department of Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, terrorism and radicalization continue to constitute one of the major threats to the continent and its people. The Department further highlights that extremist groups have perfected the art of recruitment, facilitated by the use of cyber platforms and structural vulnerabilities such as poverty, ethnic and religious diversity and various political ideologies.

In light of this, Pan-African Parliamentarians from the Committee on Cooperation explored counter-terrorism measures that could be adopted by African Union member states. As such, the Committee received a presentation by Mr. Allan Ngari, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), on the Nexus between counter-terrorism: Rule of Law and Human Rights.

In his presentation, Mr. Ngari indicated that unemployment, lack of access to state resources as well as ideologies of faith, the targeting of certain ethnic and/or religious group communities of civil rights by limiting civil and political rights are among the drivers of radicalisation.

“Preventing and combating terrorism requires that we address the conditions conducive to the spread of this problem. It is therefore important to build states’ capacity and strengthen the role of the United Nations in ensuring Human rights and the rule of Law,” says Mr. Ngari.

Consultations on terrorism and counter measures included a panel discussion on country experiences featuring Hon. Hatem Bashat (Egypt), Hon. Gelase Daniel Ndabirabe (Burundi), Hon. Loide Kasingo (Namibia), Hon. Prof. Ogengo-Latigo (Uganda) and Hon. Assane Ibrahim (Niger). 
The Committee was also briefed by Amb. Ehab Fahmy, Egyptian Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister and Director of International Anti-Terrorism Unit.

In his closing remarks, Hon.Aboubacar Sidiki Kone called on African governments to create opportunities for young people to prevent them from being tempted by extremist groups.

“while factors such as religion and political exclusion cannot be overlooked, it appears that most young people join extremist groups for economic benefits. Our proposed solutions to terrorism need to include the enabling of an environment where young people are valued and given priorities in terms of employment and other benefits. This will make them less vulnerable to terror recruiters.”

The outcomes of the August Sittings of the Permanent Committees of the fifth Parliament of PAP will be tabled for adoption during the Ordinary Session of the continental Parliament in October 2019.