Civil society organisations in East Africa have called for an all inclusive process and involvement of non-state actors in the formal structures of the East African Community (EAC) integration process.
Over 90 organisations from all the five Partner States were last weekend attending the 3rd` annual conference of civil society organisations held in Arusha, Tanzania.
In a communiqué the East African Civil Society Organisations’ Forum (EACSOF) issued at the end of the meeting, called for full participation of civil society organisations in all EAC negotiations from sectoral committees to the Council of Ministers.
“Civil society should be consulted in the on-going negotiations on the EAC Common Market and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU-ACP,” reads part of the communiqué.
The organisations undertook to fully support the East African charter of the International Coalition of the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) and the peace and security architectures within the African Union (AU) in general and the EAC in particular.
They however implored partner states to embrace constructive criticism from non-state actors and called for the stemming of any hostility for such critique.
On law and justice, the organisations said they want to work closely with the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) in the development of regional legislation.
“We recommend to the EAC that the operationalisation of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) be extended to include handling of human rights cases brought before it and to institute best practices in the selection of judges to the court,” states the statement.