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Civil Society’s quest to be included in the U.S-Africa 2014 Summit | Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

Civil Society’s quest to be included in the U.S-Africa 2014 Summit

Copy of Letter to the President can be accessed here: Letter to Pres. Obama – US African Leaders Summit

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President Barack Obama announced in January 2014 that the United States would host the first ever United States African Leaders Summit[1], scheduled to take place from August 5–6. The summit will provide a platform for U.S. policy makers and high-level government officials to meet face-to-face with potentially forty-seven African heads of state. The summit will reportedly focus on U.S. trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to the overall security of the continent. The summit will also occur during a time when the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) is nearing renewal in September 2015, and is therefore a topic ripe for discussion and debate.

President Obama’s announcement has been met with skepticism and a subdued level of enthusiasm, as many in the international human rights and democracy promotion communities view U.S. policy towards Africa as lacking in focus, creativity, and a genuine commitment to uphold basic freedoms.

However the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum together with our partners in Washington DC who include Amnesty International, Freedom House, Open Society Foundations and Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, views this Summit as an opportunity for civil society to underscore the importance of human rights and democratic practice as an essential golden thread in the U.S-Africa Relations. To this end, kindly find attached our letter   to President Barack Obama, urging him to include civil society voices and issues of human rights to be included in the upcoming U.S. African Leaders Summit. During the next week, we will collect the names of all organizations that are able to sign onto this letter; we will then send the letter, including all sign-on organizations, to the White House by Friday, April 18. Please respond promptly Jeffrey Smith on:  smith@rfkcenter.org

This will enable us to include your name and do not hesitate to be in touch with Jeffrey or Arthur on intlo@hrforumzim.com should you have any questions or concerns. Jeff, our partners and myself will be happy to chat with you.

A copy of the letter can be accessed here: Letter to Pres. Obama – US African Leaders Summit


[1] 8 countries are currently excluded, due to a range of reasons from African Union suspension to leaders being “specially designated nationals” under U.S. law. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States%E2%80%93Africa_Leaders_Summit for more detailed information.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.