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Experts in Africa to discuss the role of the constitution in democratic transitions

April 20, 2016

International IDEA is hosting a three-day conference on, ‘Constitution building and constitutionalism in transitional and post-conflict situations’[agendaconcept note] in Tunis, Tunisia on 25-27 April 2016.

The workshop will bring together over 40 experts from across Africa to discuss the key principles for constitution building in post-conflict and transitional settings. The aim is to achieve a series of concrete recommendations to the Political Affairs Department of the African Union in order to further support its policymaking and respect for the compliance and fulfilment of their preventative diplomacy strategy.

The workshop will include opening addresses from the Chair of the Cluster Constitutionalism and Rule of Law of the African Union, the Director of the Political Affairs Department of the African Union and Joseph Chilengi, Presiding Officer of the ECOSOCC of the AU. Farida Labidi, a current member or Tunisia’s parliament and the former President of the Commission of Rights and Liberties in the National Constituent Assembly will also join the opening session in order to present the Tunisian constitution building process. “The constitution, as an embodiment of the social bargain between state and society, is at the heart of democratic governance”, said Adebayo Olukoshi, International IDEA’s Director of the Africa and West Asia programme. “For countries undergoing transition from authoritarianism or recovering from conflict, the constitution provides a basis for the mobilisation of legitimacy towards a more representative and participatory political order. This workshop will serve as one step in making the constitution a living document and an integral part of everyday democratic politics which has become an integral part of efforts to promote the exercise of full citizenship by Africans”.

Topics of discussion include constitution building and state legitimacy, the concepts of transition and the role of other actors such as political parties and civil society in the implementation of political settlements in transitional and post conflict situations. The last day of the workshop will focus on the role and existing policies of the African Union.

Members of the press are welcome to join the opening address at 9:00 on 25 April at the Golden Tulip Gammarth Hotel.

For more information, contact: Maurice Enguelegue (M.Jean-ClaudeDidierEnguelegue)

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