African summit fraught with human rights issues

African leaders gathered in Khartoum today for a summit fraught with human rights issues in a country the United States accuses of genocide.

Yesterday, Sudanese police raided a meeting of civil and human rights groups and briefly detained participants.

The meeting location has divided leaders in the 53-member African Union, whose two-day meeting will encompass issues including migration to Europe, corruption, hunger, and the many conflicts on the continent that has the world’s largest number of refugees.

Most contentious is the chairmanship of the organisation, which traditionally goes to the country hosting the summit.

That would make the next chairman Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir, a military coup leader accused of fuelling the conflict in Western Darfur that has killed some 180,000 people in three years, displaced two million and spilled over into neighbouring Chad.

Rebels in Darfur said they would boycott on-going peace talks to protest against the prospect, which would make Sudan both a mediator and a participant in the talks.

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