On 9 September 2002, at a convention held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia PALU was formally founded. Exactly two decades after its founding, on 9 September 2022, PALU returned to its home in Addis Ababa to celebrate its successes, to assess and discuss the current status of the African content with regards to constitutionalism, good governance, rule of law, promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights and to strategically plan for the future.
PALU, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Federal Advocates Association and the Ethiopian Lawyers Association, brought together over 100 lawyers, human rights advocates, leaders of CSOs and presidents of bar associations from all over Africa and its Diaspora.
Ms Sinidu Alemu, President of the Ethiopian Federal Advocates Association (EFAA) welcomed all participants to Ethiopia the birthplace of many Pan-Africanist movements and institutions including the actual birthplace of PALU. “It’s with immense honour that we host you once more here in our beautiful city of Addis Ababa”. Ms Sindu also requested PALU to reconsider having the secretariat once more in Addis Ababa.
Mr Kari Abdoul-Bagui, President of PALU, made his opening remarks by stating that PALU is best placed to strengthen and enhance the collaboration among the many African bar associations and praised its dedication to strengthening democracy, rule of law, promotion of equality and human rights and the legal profession for the benefit of all Africans.
The keynote speech was given by Dr Guy-Fleury Ntwari, Legal Counsel and Director of the Office of the Legal Counsel, African Union (AU). He acknowledged PALU’s commitment and alignment with the African Union’s core values and mandate. He further challenged the participants to discuss whether Africa is in fact a significant party to the international rules, norms and agreements and if we are making progress on this front or whether Africa should make similar arrangements, better suited for the African context.
After kicking off the Conference, the following topics and outcomes were discussed and produced throughout the rest of the day:
- The legal profession and the economy in Africa (under the auspices of the PALU Section on Business Law, the Tier 1 Law Firms’ Forum, and the IFF Task Force)
- The future of the legal profession in Africa (under the auspices of the PALU Section on Legal Practice and the ICT Committee)
- The legal profession and democracy, good governance, rule of law, human and peoples’ rights and peace and security in Africa (under the auspices of the PALU Section on Public Interest and Development Law)
- Strategy and planning – a ‘Town Hall-style’ meeting on the next 20 years of PALU (facilitated by the President and Executive Committee of PALU, 2022 – 2025).
Lastly, Adv. Akere Muna, one of PALU’s founding members and a member of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) from Africa called upon all the leaders of the African bar associations to mobilize citizens in the fight against IFFs and to support a strong, unilateral declaration that is condemning and insisting on the prosecution of IFF perpetrators.
For more resource material on the event CLICK HERE