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Migiro says Africa striving to build peace but complex challenges remain

Migiro says Africa striving to build peace but complex challenges remain

Asha-Rose Migiro
Hailing the progress made in recent years to advance peace and security in Africa, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today said that equal attention must be devoted to development and human rights on the continent.

“Africa’s progress disproves the distorted and widespread portrayal of the continent as a sea of conflict and undifferentiated poverty,” she said, noting the dramatic drop in violent conflicts in the last decade.

Addressing the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on African Affairs, Ms. Migiro said that in many parts of the continent, remarkable advances have been made in ending armed conflict and consolidating peace, highlighting examples such as Liberia, where a landmark vote two years ago brought the first woman President of an African nation into office.

At the same time, she recognized that Africa continues to grapple with immense challenges such as promoting human rights and the rule of law, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of global anti-poverty targets to be achieved by 2015.

“So much needs to be done before we can speak of a real improvement in Africa’s human rights situation,” she stated.

Another major challenge is the violence that continues to have tragic consequences for civilians in Africa’s remaining conflict areas, she said, adding that “nowhere is the tragedy of conflict more evident than in Darfur.”

The Deputy Secretary-General said that despite the joint efforts of the UN and the African Union (AU) to reinvigorate the peace process and strengthen peacekeeping, the violence in that war-torn region of Sudan is taking an “unacceptable toll” on human lives.

“Today, there is no single issue to which the Secretary-General or his senior colleagues devote more efforts than Darfur,” she said.

The UN has organized what is currently its largest humanitarian operation in the world in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others displaced from their homes since clashes erupted in 2003 between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militias and rebel groups.

“The goal is to work out a negotiated solution and deploy a robust peacekeeping operation capable of supporting an enhanced peace agreement,” Ms. Migiro said.