Civil Society Groups Call on African Union to Reject Israel’s Observer Status Application

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read
Civil Society Groups Call on African Union to Reject Israel's Observer Status Application

A group of civil society organizations is urging the African Union (AU) to deny Israel’s request for observer status within the continental bloc. The call is being made ahead of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, where activists are renewing efforts to address the ongoing debate regarding Israel’s bid.

Comprising 151 organizations and individuals from across Africa and representing the African diaspora, the coalition asserts that denying observer status to Israel would convey a powerful message against perceived atrocities. They argue that Israel’s recent actions in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza warrant a firm response from the AU.

In a letter addressed to AU Chairperson President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, the coalition emphasizes the need to stand in solidarity with Palestinian civilians affected by the conflict. They urge President Assoumani to resist pressure and protect the interests of those impacted by the ongoing violence.

The activists advocate for a comprehensive approach to addressing the conflict, calling for sustained efforts towards a ceasefire and subsequent negotiations. Additionally, they propose convening an extraordinary summit of AU member states to deliberate on the broader impact of conflicts in Africa and the Middle East on international law and norms.

Among the signatories are ten Kenyan activists and organizations, including prominent human rights advocate Daniel Muoti and grassroots movements such as Kayole Community Justice Centre and Tribeless Youth.

While the AU Summit agenda does not explicitly mention deliberations on Israel’s observer application, the issue remains divisive within the continent. Countries like South Africa have taken legal action against Israel, accusing it of genocide, while others advocate for dialogue and diplomacy.

Israel’s bid for observer status was initially granted diplomatic recognition in 2022 but faced deferral by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to seek consensus. However, progress has stalled, leaving the matter unresolved amidst shifting diplomatic relations with Israel across Africa.

Observer status would afford Israel limited participation and access to AU meetings without voting rights. The outcome of the upcoming AU Summit could significantly impact the dynamics of regional diplomacy and conflict resolution.


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