12 June 2014

Africa Civil Society Leaders to Meet in Advance of U.S.-Africa Summit

press release

Washington, DC — The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, taking place August 5th and 6th in Washington D.C., will provide a platform for the U.S. government and African heads of state to engage on issues and policies affecting U.S.-Africa relations.

It is expected that priority will be given to strengthening trade and investment, as well as increasing collaboration on combating violent extremism. But many African and international civil society organizations have expressed concern that the summit will neglect the underpinning governance and human rights concerns that often lead to the expansion of extremist groups’ and instability.

In order for the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit to effectively address the pressing issues facing Africans today, civil society must be given a voice in shaping the agenda. To advance that goal, Amnesty International USA, Freedom House, Front Line Defenders, Open Society Foundations, and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights will organize a U.S.-Africa Civil Society Forum, which will take place on June 18, 19, and 20.

We will convene 18 representatives from 12 African countries in Washington D.C. Participants [http://bit.ly/1oN7Szy] will discuss opportunities around the Summit and develop policy recommendations for the United States government and African heads of state to strengthen democratic governance and respect for human rights in their foreign and domestic policies. These recommendations will be presented to high-level representatives from the White House, Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development. The recommendations will also be shared with African Heads of State.

Open Society Foundations will sponsor a media event from 5-7pm on June 19 on their Washington, D.C. roof top terrace. Members of the media are invited to meet with the African civil society leaders participating in the forum to discuss human rights and governance issues in Africa and the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit. Hor d’oeuvres and drinks will be served. Please RSVP to jonathan.kaplan@opensocietyfoundations.org by 12pm on June 17.

We welcome requests for information on the June 18–20 U.S.-Africa Civil Society Forum. Please do not hesitate to contact our coalition representatives, listed here:

Adotei Akwei (Amnesty International USA)
AAkwei@aiusa.org

Peter Chapman (Open Society Foundations)
peter.chapman@opensocietyfoundations.org

Monica Giannone (Open Society Foundations)
mrgiannone@gmail.com

Kellen McClure (Freedom House)
Mcclure@freedomhouse.org

Adam Shapiro (Front Line Defenders)
adam@frontlinedefenders.org

Jeffrey Smith (Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights)
smith@rfkcenter.org

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