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Communique : The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 303rd meeting, held on 8 December 2011, adopted the following decision on the prevention and combating of terrorism in Africa

Council, 1. Takes note of the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on Terrorism in Africa and the AU’s efforts to address this scourge [PSC/PR (CCCIII)], as well as the briefing provided by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission in charge of Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, Ambassador Francisco Madeira. Council also takes note of the statement made by the representative of the European Union; 2. Recalls communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CCXLIX), adopted at its 249th meeting held on 22 November 2010; 3. Reiterates AU’s unequivocal rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Council strongly condemns the spate of attacks perpetrated by Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia and other countries of the region, the continued atrocities being committed by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) in the affected countries, as well as the kidnappings, hostage taking and attacks perpetrated, in the Sahelo-Saharan and Northern Africa regions, by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and associated groups; 4. Expresses deep concern over the worsening scourge of terrorism in Africa and the growing linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime. In this respect, Council reiterates that the proliferation of weapons emanating from Libyan military depots and the use of the continent as a transit route for narcotics trafficking have the potential of further exacerbating the threat of terrorism; 5. Commends the Commission for the steps it has taken to follow up on the relevant decisions of Council and other AU organs, including the assessment visits undertaken to Member States, capacity building initiatives, the operationalization of the Counter-Terrorism Early Warning System, as well as the collaborative efforts with relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, in particular the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and its Executive Directorate (CTED), the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); 6. Reaffirms the importance of the AU normative and policy framework for preventing and combating terrorism, in particular the 1999 Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and its 2004 Supplementary Protocol, as well as the 2002 AU Plan of Action, as an integral part of the universal instruments on terrorism, including relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and UN Conventions and Protocols; 7. Reiterates the need for continued efforts by all AU Member States to prevent and combat the scourge of terrorism. Accordingly, Council urges Member States that have not yet done so to take without any further delay the steps required to become parties to the 1999 Convention and its 2004 Protocol, as well as to relevant international instruments. Council also underlines the relevance of the AU Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention; 8. Stresses the need for the effective implementation of the commitments made by Member States and the relevant AU and international instruments. In particular, Council requests Member States that have not yet done so to designate Focal Points to ensure effective liaison with the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), and stresses the need for the Focal Points to be established, at the appropriate level of decision-making, in all Member States; 9. Encourages all Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to develop comprehensive national and regional counter-terrorism strategies, including the establishment of Fusion Centres, with the view of facilitating exchange of information, coordination and joint operations; 10. Welcomes the steps taken by the Commission towards the convening, on the margins of the forthcoming ordinary session of the Executive Council, at the end of January 2012, of a ministerial meeting to address the threat posed by the proliferation of arms originating from the Libyan military depots. In this respect, Council welcomes the joint AU-UN assessment mission to assess the impact of the Libyan crisis on the Sahel region, being undertaken from 7 to 23 December 2011, whose report will be considered by the ministerial meeting; 11. Reiterates AU’s total opposition to the payment of ransom to terrorist groups and welcomes the consultations undertaken by Special Representative in charge of Counter-Terrorism Cooperation aimed at building consensus towards the adoption, by the UN Security Council, of a binding resolution against the payment of ransom to terrorist groups, as well as towards the launching of negotiations, at the UN General Assembly, to elaborate a Protocol on the prohibition of payment of ransom; 12. Encourages the Commission to pursue the efforts initiated regarding the development of best practices on border management and the enhancement of the capacity of Member States in this respect. Council further encourages the Commission to work towards the early finalization of the envisaged African Arrest Warrant; 13. Takes note of the proposal made by the Commission on the functions and modalities of work of the Peace and Security Council Sub-Committee on Counter-Terrorism, to be established pursuant to communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CCXLIX) of its 249th meeting, and undertake to speedily finalize the document; 14. Emphasizes the imperative to uphold human rights and international humanitarian law in the efforts to prevent and combat terrorism. Council further emphasizes the need to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, through comprehensive counter?terrorism strategies; 15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Posted by Lulit Kebede
Last updated by Abraham Kebede

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