Churches say Sudan is unfit to chair African Union

 The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has raised questions over Sudan's suitability to chair the African Union. The churches join a number of voices that consider the country's current political problems, including civil war and a notorious human rights record, make it unsuitable to head the AU. "It is unfair to call upon Sudan to chair the AU at this point in time, given the critical nature of the Sudan problem - a problem which requires proper attention not only by the government of the Sudan but also from the ecumenical community," Rev Dr H Mvume Dandala, General Secretary of the AACC, said yesterday. "We at the AACC wish to prioritise resolving the tensions in the Sudan," Rev Dandala continued. "We believe that the Sudanese government is expected by the international community to resolve key issues surrounding Darfur." Sudan is hosting the AU summit which opened in Khartoum on Monday. Traditionally, the summit host takes over the chair of the 53-member club. But human rights groups said it would be a disaster if Sudan was chosen. They cite the crisis over Darfur and allegations that Khartoum-backed militias have been involved in serious rights violations there. Reports said five heads of state met Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday and told him to withdraw the country's candidature. Rev Dandala noted that for Sudan to effectively chair the AU, the government needed the internal support of the Church and of the people of Sudan, and that the fragile peace following the civil war in the south, and the reports of violence and oppression in Darfur, were yet to be resolved. Source: CISA

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