African leaders must get into the game on resolving conflicts in Africa

Addis Ababa, Malabo, and 25th June 2014 - Today, 15 African Heads of State and Government are meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC).

They meet at a time when the soccer World Cup is underway in Brazil. While footballers are dazzling the world and fans are cheering for their teams, Oxfam is calling for more attention to the dire realities of people living in Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia.

In South Sudan—the world’s newest nation—thousands have been killed and 1.5 million have had to flee for their lives; that alone is nearly three times more than the number of fans at the World Cup. More than 7 million South Sudanese do not have enough food to eat. It doesn’t end there: 3 million people are in crisis in Somalia, 2.5 million in the Central African Republic and over 6 million in Sudan.

With 500,000 football fans at the World Cup to cheer on their teams, Brazil has employed 170,000 security personnel. That is almost five times as many peacekeepers deployed today to protect civilians caught up in the conflicts engulfing South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Désiré Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union says: “Conflicts do not ignite overnight. The African Union has mechanisms to warn of conflicts. At this special occasion, we strongly urge our leaders to take firm action to intervene. It is important that early warnings are acted upon timely. It is only by doing so that the promise to “silence the guns” in Africa can be realized.

He continues: “It’s not too late to prevent famine in South Sudan or stop the conflicts in Sudan, Somalia and the Central African Republic from worsening. African leaders can save lives by getting people the help they need and by pressuring the leaders in these conflict-afflicted countries to lend their weight to end these conflicts.

The African Union and the international community need to get off the bench and get in the game as a matter of urgency.”

Notes to editors

Contact information

For more information or to arrange an interviews please contact Idriss Ali Nassah on +251 93 007 9063 Idriss.nassah@oxfaminternational.org