In early August, Obama hosts the first ever U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, D.C. Nearly every sitting head of state from the continent is invited to discuss primarily bilateral business opportunities through trade and investment. However, from the beginning, the White House stated the intent to also focus on human rights and good governance. It is time for Obama to honor that commitment. Help us urge the inclusion of civil society in all summit sessions.
The leaders of Africa are not just heads of state. There are strong, dynamic, courageous leaders of human rights, civil rights and good governance organizations (collectively known as ‘civil society’) in Africa who deserve full participation in the summit on August 6th-the day devoted most closely to these issues. Right now, the administration is hosting a half-day session on August 4th devoted to human rights and other like concerns where very few presidents and prime ministers will attend. We think that’s a good start. But it’s not the same as putting these critical thought leaders in the same room with all assembled heads of state.
#WeAreAfrica is an initiative to highlight the voice of African civil society and their rightful place to be heard at the US-Africa summit. If you are an activist reading this blog concerned about human rights, YOU are a member of civil society. This effort is about the critical need for the presence at high level government events of individuals and groups who care about human rights and civil rights. #WeAreAfrica and YOU are Africa. Tell Obama civil society needs to be present at the summit session on August 6th.