Statement on the Decision of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Credit a new Observer State to the African Union

Bir Lehlou, 5 August 2021

The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) has taken note of the decision taken recently by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on crediting a new observer state to the African Union.

The Sahrawi Republic (SADR) recalls the decision EX.CL/195 (VII) on “Criteria for Granting Observer Status and for a System of Accreditation within the AU”, which was adopted by the 7th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and endorsed by the 5th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), held in Sirte, Libya, on 1-2 and 4-5 July 2005, respectively.

The SADR recalls in particular the provisions of decision EX.CL/195 (VII) concerning the “Criteria for Accreditation of Non-African States and Regional Integration and International Organisations” which stipulate that “the aims and purposes of Non-African States or Organisations wishing to be accredited to the AU shall be in conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union” (Section I, para. 1).

The SADR equally notes that, in line with decision EX.CL/195 (VII), “the Chairperson [of the AU Commission] shall consider” requests of a Non-African State or Organisation wishing to be accredited to the AU, “on the basis of the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act, relevant decisions of the AU organs and these Criteria” and “bearing in mind the supreme interest of the Union and the known views and concerns of member states” (Part II, Section II, paras: 1-3).

In view of the above considerations, the Sahrawi Republic (SADR) considers that the decision taken by the Chairperson of the AU Commission to credit a new observer state to the African Union was taken in full disregard for the supreme interest of the Union and the known views and concerns of its member states. Several Member States of the African Union have therefore expressed their objection to the decision bearing in mind that the application by the state concerned was considered and rejected by the African Union in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

Needless to say, the aggressive conduct of the state concerned and its continued illegal occupation of Palestinian and Arab Territories, its displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people from their land as well as its documented violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not at all in conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

The decision is also contrary to the letter and spirit of the decisions taken by the African Union on Palestine including Assembly/AU/Decl.1(XXXIV) adopted by the AU Assembly in its session held virtually on 6-7 February 2021, which expressed the AU unwavering support for the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people  to self-determination, including their right to live  in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Sahrawi Republic (SADR) adds its voice to all those AU Member States in registering its objection to the decision of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to credit a new observer state to the African Union, and requests that the issue be placed on the agenda of the Executive Council of the African Union and be addressed as a matter of priority given its far-reaching legal and political implications for the Union and its policies and positions on regional and international issues.

The text of the statement will be communicated to the African Union Commission and other relevant AU policy organ