Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s President, has been elected chairman of the African Union by the continental body at a summit in Ethiopia. He has been appointed the chair of the 55-member pan-African body after former Rwandan President Paul Kagame stepped down.
The Egyptian leader said he would target his fight against the armed groups on the continent and focus his efforts on rebuilding the countries recovering from conflict during his one year term as a chairman of African Union. According to Sisi, the African Union will use mediation and ‘preventive diplomacy’ as mechanisms for promoting peace and security in the continent. He added that his main focus would be on creating an Africa-wide free trade zone.
However, Amnesty International, the leading human rights group, expressed its concern regarding Sisi’s chairmanship as it would weaken human rights mechanisms in the African Union.
According to Amnesty’s Campaign Director for North African region, it was during the tenure of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he exhibited shocking contempt for human rights and the country underwent a catastrophic decline in rights and freedom. The human rights group stated that since 2015 Egypt has been organizing ceaseless political attacks against the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the body that monitors African States Human Rights records.