Regional insecurity ‘threatens integration’
The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of political federation, Dr Julius Rotich, says the prevailing insecurity caused by terrorism, human and arms trafficking were hampering regional integration.
He made the remarks yesterday while officially opening a session of regional senior officials from the Sectoral Council on Inter-state security in east African countries in Kigali.
Rotich called for more collective efforts from member countries to curb the threats so as to deepen the integration process.
“The challenges posed by terrorism, currently one of the most potent threats to the region underscore the sectors role to facilitate free movement of persons… the same applies to trafficking in persons where the region has become a major transit point,” he said.
The one-week meeting will be followed by discussions of EAC police chiefs, coordination committee and the last session of security and EAC ministers.
In July 2010, terrorists killed over 70 people in the Ugandan capital Kampala when they bombed football fans who were watching the 2010 World Cup final.
Kenya has also seen a rise in terrorist attacks.
Article 124 of the EAC Treaty recognises the need for peace and security within partner states.
A recent 10th extra-ordinary summit of EAC Heads of State approved and signed the EAC protocol on co-operation in defence. The meeting directed that the protocol be ratified and instruments of ratification deposited with the EAC Secretary General by November 30 this year.
The East African police chiefs also recently backed an initiative of establishing the Regional Referral Forensic Centre (RRFC) to tackle crimes. Its role will ensure that EAC countries have harmonised forensic centres.
The EAC has already initiated the harmonisation of Peace and Security initiatives, common policing standards, joint investigations, exchange of information and mutual legal assistance among partner states.
Others issues to be discussed include the development of the EAC conflict prevention management and resolution framework, refugee management issues, as well as money laundering, among others.