New members of the African Union Peace and Security Council have been called on to defend Africa against genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The elected members of the Peace and Security Council are undergoing an induction at Swakopmund.

The programme is aimed at giving members an orientation on the mandate, powers, and functions of the council, established 20 years ago.

It is also a platform for the outgoing members to share their experiences with the incoming.

"The council must be the hope of silencing the guns and aspirations for our collective security; the council, your council, must be the defender against mass atrocities of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The council should be fearless, bold, courageous, and consistent. The council must be revered and respected by all," said the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Bankole Adeoye. 

In a speech read on his behalf, Namibia's International Relations and Co-operation Minister said the work of the council is crucial and far-reaching, as it has tackled some of the most persistent issues on the continent.

Dr. Peya Mushelenga cited conflicts in Somalia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel region, and Mozambique.

Moreover, he noted that amplified attention is required to overcome traditional and emerging threats like extremism, climate change, and cybercrime.

"There is important work ahead for the new configuration for the Peace and Security Council that begins its work on April 1, 2024. Africa looks to you to safeguard its peace and security. The Peace and Security Council has a responsibility, and the decisions you take and the programmes you put in place have the potential, when one-day history is written, to change the narrative of Africa—the narrative that Africa is looked upon as the breeding ground for instability. Let us change this narrative once and for all."

Five member countries serve on the council for three years, while 10 others serve for two years.

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Renate Rengura