The Prince And Princess Charles Offokaja Foundation (75980), a Nigerian NGO, is about to launch a petition to get the African Union to grant Haiti full membership.
Haiti, despite being a country whose people have mostly African origin was sadly denied Associate membership by the African Union on grounds that it is not geographically based on the African continent, an excuse which has been described as unjustifiable.
The petition points to the example of Rwanda which was admitted into the Commonwealth of Nations despite not being a British colony as an example of countries being granted membership of international organizations in special circumstances.
It also points to the US state of Hawaii as a state that has not been denied its rights as a member of the United States, despite not being geographically located in Continental United States.
Read the full text of the petition below:
Haiti is a country whose people are of predominantly African origin. It is geographically situated in the Caribbean. It is a country that has known The worst cases of neocolonialism, international humiliation and isolation ever since she dared to liberate herself from slavery and become the first independent black republic on earth 212 years ago.
Before independence, Haiti grappled with slavery and colonialism. Since her independence, Haiti has grappled with the worse cases of neocolonialism, poverty, international humiliation and isolation, and has been gleefully given the nickname, ‘the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere’, despite the fact that its economic problem have been created largely by neocolonialism and international isolation.
To reduce this isolation and give itself a voice and community cover against future humiliations, Haiti tried this year to join the African Union (AU) as an associate member at the African Union summit this year which held at Rwanda. But the African Union rejected her with the flimsy reason that she is not geographically located in Africa, and therefore, not ‘African enough’.
But we know that there are always extraordinary circumstances in which countries can be allowed to join organizations like the African Union. For instance, Mozambique and Rwanda despite having never been British colonies, were admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations in 1995 and 2009 respectively as full members. The Commonwealth is an organization reserved for Britain and her former colonies.
If Mozambique and Rwanda, former Portuguese and Belgian colonies, could be admitted into the Commonwealth, then there is no justifiable reason why Haiti, an isolated country of predominantly African origin should not be admitted to the African Union, because it is not geographically located on the African continent. After all, the US state of Hawaii is not located on the Continental United States, but it has never been prevented from enjoying all the privileges accruable to a state in the US. In fact, the current president of the United States, Barak Obama is from Hawaii.
If Haiti is admitted, it will give her a larger voice against the seemingly coordinated international humiliations and isolation she has faced for most of her 212 years of existence.
Full membership will boost Haiti’s ties with over 50 countries in the world, and provide a platform for Haiti to seek useful economic and sociocultural partnerships with AU member countries.
Full membership will give Haiti the ability to propose international resolutions and policies that will protect it from neocolonialism and other yokes that seem to have been placed on it by neocolonial forces.
Full membership will enable Haiti comfortably conduct bilateral talks at the hghest levels at the sidelines of AU summits, giving more opportunities for useful bilateral agreements, forging of useful alliances, signing of trade deals that could lead to more investment that Haiti desperately needs.
It will deter countries that have neocolonial designs on Haiti from carrying them out, because Haiti will be protected by one of the most powerful forces that helped defeat Apartheid in South Africa, namely, the African brotherhood of nations fighting injustice.
Currently, Haiti is only allowed to be an observer member in the African Union, with no voting or proposal rights. What this means is that if Haiti faces a situation where she needs the voices of fellow African origin countries to back it up (like neocolonialism or invasion) as she normally faces, she wouldn’t be given the greatest opportunity to call on fellow African countries for help. That’s sad, that’s poor, that’s low, and that’s unacceptable.
Full membership will give Haiti a greater voice in the hammering out of multilateral treaties, ensuring that the AU has the benefit of getting the perspective of the African Diaspora when deciding on policy.
One reason why we care for Haiti is our realization that Haiti is a country of mostly African origin that appears to have faced serious discrimination ever since her people shook off slavery and colonialism 212 years ago. Most of its people are African and have faced the same problems African people on the continent have faced including poverty and neocolonialism. Currently, Haiti is only allowed to be an observer, with no voting or proposal rights. What this means is that if Haiti faces a situation where she needs the voices of fellow African origin countries to back it up (like
With your signature on this petition, you can change make the AU and its member states do the right thing. Haiti needs a louder voice to be able to surmount the intractable problems she faces. That voice is Haiti’s right on the floor of the African Union. Please, sign the petition and help Haiti get that voice.
Update: Haitians and all lovers of Haiti, justice, and fair play should please sign this petition.