Together with our member networks, more than 300 African civil society organisations (CSOs), and African citizens, we sent an open letter to the African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E Moussa Faki. In the letter, we call on the African Union and African leaders to demand a complete investigation and immediate remedial action for the inhuman and xenophobic treatment of Africans living in China in the context of COVID-19. Read the letter below
To: H.E Moussa Faki
The Chairperson, African Union Commission
P.O. Box P.O. Box 3243, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
13 April 2020
We present our compliments to Your Excellency. The undersigned Peoples represent a broad cross-section of the citizens of the African Union (AU) and include civil society organisations (CSOs), women organisations and feminist movements, labour and students movements, youth organisations, professional associations, lawyers, judges, academicians, business people, clergy, artists, activists and journalists.
We note with appreciation the AU’s commitment to the continued transforming of the AU from a union of governments to a genuine union of African peoples that values popular participation and ownership by African peoples.
We further appreciate the AU’s commitment to ensuring that Africa is socially, politically and economically integrated. That the continent speaks with one voice in global affairs. We understand the basis and values of partnership that the drive AU Agenda 2063, including the values of equality, mutual accountability, reciprocity and solidarity. In this regard and given the excellent relationship the AU and majority of its member states have so far enjoyed with China, we want to register our most profound concern and strongly condemn the recent acts of discrimination, xenophobia and racism against the Africans in China.
We welcome the statements of the African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing and reactions from different African governments and your good offices in this regard. There is a need to transform these statements into practical action that puts an end to the horrendous dehumanisation of Africans in China.
Your Excellency, Chinese authorities are allegedly forcefully testing, quarantining and inhumanely treating African people in Guangdong Province in particular. This discrimination and stigmatisation of Africans include being made to undergo epidemic investigation and Nucleic Acid Test forcefully. The Africans have also been subjected to fourteen (14) days quarantine even if they have not travelled outside their jurisdictions or come into contact with infected persons, or had close contact or showing any symptoms of the COVID-19. This treatment is in violation of international human rights laws and principles. It is inhuman and against all principles of dignity and shared humanity that should ideally guide China-Africa relations. Singling out only Africans is a xenophobic and racist act contrary to the spirit of FOCAC 8.
Your Excellency, Africa’s strong cooperation economic ties with China, should not thrive at the cost of human rights and human dignity. These are the core principles of our Constitutive Act 2000.
Your Excellency, these despicable events and other recurrent complaints regarding illicit activities by Chinese businesses in Africa now demand that the framework of cooperation establish clear standards of mutual accountability. Such standards of accountability must be formulated with active participation of African citizens. We believe that without strong mutual accountability frameworks, the message of solidarity preached by China towards Africans, will ring hollow. The participation of African people in defining the framework of partnership will ensure that going forward China-Africa partnership has a human face and is reflected in Chinese business conduct in Africa and our mutual solidarity is also a reality reflected on the streets of Chinese cities and provinces.
Your Excellency, a participatory and inclusive framework of partnership that reflects the Accra, Busan and Mexico principles will place human and peoples’ rights at the centre. This framework will address the imbalance in trade; ballooning debt; restrain dumping of inferior quality goods by strengthening standards monitoring and control illicit financial outflows and corrupt practices by Chinese businesses operating in Africa. These decisive interventions are critical to preserve the dignity of Africa and its people.
Your Excellency, the AU has done well by officially protesting to its Chinese counterparts. We now urge your good offices and African leaders to demand a full and independent investigation into the violations referred to above and immediate remedial action is taken. At the very least, we believe that the spirit of solidarity and partnership demands that China apologises and makes good the grave offence to the African Peoples’. We believe that China understands that we, as African people, deserve respect and equal treatment.
We remain, at your disposal to respond to any additional queries that you may have via Hassan Shire Hassans@defenddefenders.org, phone +256772752752 or Fatou Diagne firstname.lastname@example.org phone +221773335845 or Arnold Tsunga email@example.com, phone +27716405926. We take this opportunity to reassure Your Excellency of our highest considerations once again.