Maltreatment of Africans: AU’s Civil Society Group demands apology from China

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THE AFRICAN UNION’s Civil Society Group has demanded that China immediately apologise to the AU and its member states for the recent xenophobic, racist and inhuman treatment of African in China, which it described as “a grave offence to the African Peoples”.

The demand is contained in a letter addressed to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, by the AU Civil Society Group sighted by National Record on Monday evening.

The letter dated 13th April, 202, entitled: “Re: Open letter on the Xenophobic, racist and inhuman treatment of Africans in China,” while commending the AU for officially protesting to its Chinese counterparts the maltreatment of its people, also demanded the AU Commission and other African leaders to conduct a full and independent investigation into the violations and take immediate remedial action.

The AU’s Civil Society Group has representatives from a broad cross-section of the citizens from the continent, which include civil society organisations (CSOs), women organisations and feminist movements, youth organisations, professional associations, lawyers, judges, academicians, businessmen, clergy, artists, activists and journalists.

The civil society group stated that its demands for apology and full investigation are in appreciation of the values of partnership that drives AU’s Agenda 2063 as well as the values of equality, mutual accountability, reciprocity and solidarity which have ensured the good relationship between the African Union, the majority of its member states and China.

Read the full letter below:

To: H.E Moussa Faki

The Chairperson, African Union Commission

P.O. Box P.O. Box 3243,

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

13 April 2020

Your Excellency,

Re: Open letter on the xenophobic, racist and inhuman treatment of Africans in China

We present our compliments to Your Excellency. The undersigned peoples represent a broad cross-section of the citizens of the African Union and include civil society organisations (CSOs), women organisations and feminist movements, youth organisations, professional associations, lawyers, judges, academicians, businessmen, clergy, artists, activists and journalists.

We note with appreciation the AU’s commitment to continued transforming of the African Union from a union of governments to a genuine union of African peoples that values popular participation and ownership by African peoples.

We further appreciate the AU’s commitment to ensuring that Africa is socially, politically and economically integrated. That the continent speaks with one voice in global affairs. We appreciate the basis and values of partnership that the drive AU Agenda 2063, including the values of equality, mutual accountability, reciprocity and solidarity. In this regard and given the good relationship the African Union and majority of its member states have so far enjoyed with China, we want to register our deepest concern and strongly condemn the recent acts of discrimination, xenophobia and racism against the Africans in China.

We welcome the statements of the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing and reactions from different African governments and your good offices in this regard. There is need to transform these statements into practical action that puts an end to the horrendous dehumanisation of Africans in China.

Your Excellency,

Chinese authorities are allegedly forcefully testing, quarantining and inhumanely treating African people in Guangdong Province in particular. This discrimination and stigmatisation of Africans whereby they are made to forcefully undergo epidemic investigation and Nucleic Acid Test, fourteen (14) days quarantine even if they had not travelled outside their jurisdictions, come into contact with infected persons, had close contact or showing any symptoms of the COVID-19 is in violation of International human rights laws and principles.

It is inhuman and against all principles of dignity and common humanity that should ideally guide China-Africa relations. Singling out only Africans is a xenophobic and racist act contrary to the spirit of FOCAC 8.

Your Excellency, Africa’s strong cooperation economic ties with China, should not thrive at the cost of human rights and human dignity. These are the core principles of our Constitutive Act 2000.

Your Excellency, these despicable events and other recurrent complaints regarding illicit activities by Chines businesses in Africa now demand that the framework of cooperation establish clear standards of mutual accountability. Such standards of accountability must be formulated with active participation of African citizens. We believe that without strong mutual accountability frameworks the message of solidarity preached by China towards Africans, will ring hollow. The participation of African people in defining the framework of partnership will ensure that going forward China-Africa partnership has a human face and is reflected in Chinese business conduct in Africa and our mutual solidarity is also a reality reflected on the streets of Chinese cities and provinces.

Your Excellency, a participatory and inclusive framework of partnership that reflects the Accra, Busan and Mexico principles will place human and people’s rights at the centre; address the imbalance in trade; ballooning debt; restrain dumping of poor quality goods by strengthening standards monitoring; control illicit financial outflows and corrupt practices by Chinese businesses operating in Africa. These decisive interventions are critical for the purposes of preserving the dignity of Africa and its people.

Your Excellency, the African Union has done well to officially protest to its Chinese counterparts. We now urge your good offices and African leaders to demand a full and independent investigation into the violations referred to above and immediate remedial action taken. At the very least we believe that the spirit of solidarity and partnership demands that China apologises and makes good the grave offence to the African Peoples.

We believe that China understands that we as African people deserve respect and equal treatment.

We remain, at your disposal to respond to any additional queries that you may have. We take this opportunity to once again reassure Your Excellency of our highest considerations.

CC:

China representatives

All African States

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