The 32nd African Union summit kicks off with talks geared towards addressing the growing challenge of refugees in hosting countries.
African leaders are attending the summit in Addis Ababa in which human rights groups and several members states are pushing to have countries put in place concrete measures to allow refugees lead a life of prosperity and be integrated into their host communities.
This year’s African union summit focuses on refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.
According to UNHCR, Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than 26 percent of the world’s 25.4 million refugees with 466,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers camping in Kenya as of April 2018 report.
Human rights campaigners have joined several AU summit participants in pushing for the union to take concrete steps in addressing the issue of refugees in Africa.
They want the refugees integrated and allowed to work to earn a living from their respective hosting countries.
The 32nd AU summit is also expected to reveal the long-awaited design of a passport for all African countries. It is hoped that the passports will bring the continent one step closer to free movement of its people.
The 55-member Pan-African body will also appoint a new leader to succeed President Paul Kagame who is stepping down.
Kenya was Friday re-elected to the membership of the African Union Security Council in a move that has significantly boosted the country’s continental influence ahead of her bid for a non permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2021.
The country’s re-election is a continental vote of confidence in Kenya’s competence and is expected to have positive bearing when elections to the continental body are held.
Kenya won against her northern neighbors Ethiopia and Sudan who staged a spirited campaign but lost after six rounds of voting at the ongoing 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.
The session is being held ahead of the 32nd AU Summit which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend.