African Union considers proposal to resettle Haitians

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The African Union (AU) has agreed to consider a proposal to resettle Haitians affected by the recent magnitude 7.0 earthquake to Africa, and perhaps create a separate state for them on the continent.

File photo of Aboulaye Wade, who initially came up with the idea to resettle Haitian earthquake victims
Image: World Economic Forum.

Abdoulaye Wade, the president of Senegal, first proposed the plan on January 17, saying that Haitians were descendants of slaves initially from Africa, and that gives them a right to return to the continent. Wade commented that African countries should naturalise Haitians wanting a new nationality, and called for a mass adoption programme.

"It is out of a sense of duty and memory and solidarity that we can further the proposal to create in Africa the conditions for the return of Haitians who wish to return after the effect of the disaster that ravaged Haiti," commented AU chairman Jean Ping at the AU's annual summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "What happened to Haiti is a tragedy that transcends borders. We have attachment and links to that country. The first black republic in 1804, that carried high the flame of liberation and freedom for the black people and has paid a heavy price for so doing."

The United Nations general-secretary, Ban Ki-moon, thanked the AU "for reaching out to Haiti in this time of need", remarking that "the nation of Haiti is an ocean away, yet I know it is close to every African heart. Today the Haitian people are enduring one of the greatest humanitarian challenges in recent years and loss of life on an unimaginable scale."

The Haiti earthquake, which struck on January 12, is estimated to have killed approximately 170,000 people, and left over a million without homes.


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