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Africa Working Group

History and Background

During a plenary session at GAAMAC II on 3 February 2016, former UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Mr. Adama Dieng, invited all participants to brainstorm and formulate concrete proposals to more effectively prevent atrocities. Participants organically created four regional working groups from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Each group made concrete suggestions to address pertinent issues in their region.

The original members of the Africa Working Group were Ambassador Liberata Mulamula (Tanzania), Justice Jamila Mohammed (Kenya),Ms. Lina Zedriga Waru (Uganda), Dr. Ashad Sentongo (Uganda), Mr. Dismas Nkunda (Uganda), Mr. Frank O. Okyere (Ghana), Mr. Lawrence Orowe (Kenya), Mr. Aatsa Atogho (Cameroon), Mr. Wale Adeboye (Nigeria), Ms. Andie Lambe (Uganda/UK), Reverand Canon Thomas Godda (Tanzania) and Ms. Felistas Mushi (Tanzania).

The Africa Working Group’s suggestion to produce a Manual on creating and strengthening the management of national atrocity prevention architecture was chosen as the most practical proposal by the Special Adviser. The proposal subsequently received funding from the Swiss government for its realization.

A first version of the Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention was presented at the global meeting GAAMAC III. Feedback from discussions during GAAMAC III was integrated, and the revised version was released in April 2019. It is currently available in English, French and Spanish

In 2021, a Training Toolkit was produced to faciliate understanding of the Manual and help translate its recommendations into concrete change. The Tookit is available in English and in French

Governance

The Africa Working Group (AWG) is composed of more than 25 members from over 10 countries (see full list at the bottom of this page) and is led by a Chair and Vice-Chair. The AWG is also composed of a Steering Committee and a group of Focal Persons representing the five geographic regions of the African Union. The AWG holds regular virtual meetings to plan its activities and strengthen its internal working mechanisms. The GAAMAC Support Office works closely with the leadership and the Secretary of the AWG, Dr. Wale Adeboye, to support the organization and implementation of prevention activities and to provide logistical services.

In April 2021, the AWG elected its new leadership and secretary following the appointment of the group's previous Chair, Minister Liberata Mulamula, as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania. Since 15 April 2021, Justice Jamila Mohammed and Mr. Bakari Sidiki Diaby have served as Chair and Vice-Chair and are supported by Dr. Wale Adeboye in his role as Secretary. Minister Liberata Mulamula remains part of the Africa Working Group as honorary Patron.

Among other functions, the Chair provides overall leadership to the AWG, serves as a spokesperson, presides over meetings, and reports to the GAAMAC Steering Group.

Justice Jamila Mohammed is the Chairperson of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Justice Mohammed has also served in different leadership positions to foster the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda. She was recently appointed Chair of the GAAMAC Africa Working Group and also serves as the Focal Point for the East African Region. Justice Jamila was bestowed with the Award of Elder of the Burning Spear (E.B.S) by the President of the Republic of Kenya in 2019 and was recognized for her Long Service and Dedication to FIDA Kenya in 2012.

“My vision is to build and grow a Pan-African Working Group that leads to robust national mechanisms in each and every region of Africa”. Read and watch the full interview of Justice Mohammed.

Activities

Since the publication of the Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention, the Africa Working Group has implemented various activities to strengthen the prevention of mass atrocity crimes in Africa. In 2020 and 2021, the group focused on the following main activities:

  • Dissemination of the Manual

The Africa Working Group’s awareness-raising campaign aims to increase prevention capacity in Africa and beyond through the dissemination and ownership of the Manual on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention.

As part of this campaign, a two-day workshop was organized in March 2021 where 60 officers of the armed forces of Ivory Coast have been sensitized on best practices for the creation and management of national mechanisms for the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities.

  • Elaboration of a Training Toolkit

The Africa Working Group has developped a Training Toolkit on Best Practices for the Establishment and Management of National Mechanisms for Genocide and Mass Atrocities Prevention. The Training Toolkit can be used to train government officials, field focal points, and other atrocity prevention actors. It is available in English and in French.

  • Empirical Research on Hate Speech

The AWG produced a report titled “Covid-19 Pandemic & Elections as Atrocity Crime Triggers in Africa: Nature of Misinformation, Fake News and Related Hate Speeches”. The report contains three case studies that were conducted in Cameroun, Nigeria and South Sudan and was presented at GAAMAC’s fourth global meeting in November 2021.

Members

Leadership

  • Justice Jamila Mohammed, Chair of the Africa Working Group and Focal Person for East Africa (Chair of the Kenya National Committee for the Prevention of Genocide)
  • Bakari Sidiki Diaby, Vice-Chair of the Africa Working Group and Focal Person for francophone West Africa (Member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD); former Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Council; General Coordinator of the African Coordination of Human Rights for the Armed Forces (CADHA); Permanent Secretary of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions of the Member States of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, Ivory Coast)
  • Liberata Mulamula, Patron of the Africa Working Group (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tanzania)
  • Dr Wale Adeboye, Secretary of the Africa Working Group and Focal Person for Anglophone West Africa (West Africa Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect WAC-R2P, Nigeria)

Steering Committee Members

All leadership members are part of the Steering Committee.

  • Felistas Mushi (Chairperson of Tanzania’s National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and all Forms of Discrimination)
  • Reverend Thomas Godda Muyya (Executive Director Interfaith Peace Council, Tanzania)
  • Rita Izsak-Ndiaye (Independent expert, member and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Senegal)
  • Brian Kalenge (Treasurer Uganda National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and Mass Atrocities)
  • Andie Lambe (Independent Consultant on Human Rights, Uganda)
  • Frank Okyere (Head of the Peace Support Operations Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Ghana)
  • Lambert Oparah (Executive Secretary Nigerian National Human Rights Commission)

 Members

  • Clément Capo-Chichi (President of the Benin Human Rights Commission)
  • Donald Deya (Chief Executive Officer Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU); Co-Founder Atrocities Watch Africa (AWA), Tanzania)
  • Bruno Gbiegba (President of the National Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Other Criminal Atrocities of the Central African Republic)
  • Liberate Nakimana (Deputy Director Conflict Alert and Prevention Centre, Burundi)
  • Dismas Nkunda (Vice Chair Uganda National Committee for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide and Mass Atrocities)
  • Frank Okyere (Head of the Peace Support Operations Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Ghana)
  • Ashad Sentongo (Director of Africa Programs Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities)
  • Sambwa Simbyakula-Chilembo, Focal Person for Southern Africa (Senior Adviser, Department of International Law and Agreements, Ministry of Justice of Zambia)
  • Alphonse Van (President and CEO Raphael Lemkin Centre for Africa (CERLA), Ivory Coast)
  • Zahra' Langhi, Focal Person for North Africa (Co-founder and Executive Director of the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace (LWPP); member of the Legal Committee of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum)
  • Dickson Magotsi, Vice-Chairperson of the Kenya National Committee on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and All Forms of Discrimination (KNC)
  • Millicent Otieno, Member of the KNC and Convenor of the KNC Partnership and Resource Mobilization, Local Capacities for Peace International (LCPI)
  • Mohammed Ndifuna, Executive Director, Justice Access Point
  • Ladislas Yassin Nkundabanyanga, Founder and Executive Director Rwanda Youth Club for Peace
  • Juliet Nakyanzi, CEO Platform for Social Justice