Africa

ECOWAS parliament moves against religious intolerance in West Africa

The United States has welcomed the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) resolution on democratic transition in Mali.

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has taken steps to curtail religious intolerance, which leads to violent extremism and discord as the regional legislature has established a mechanism it called ‘Marshal Plan’ to curb the menace and promote harmony in the region.

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Members of the Parliament made this move during a delocalised meeting of the Joint Committees of Education, Science and Culture / Health and Information Technology that deliberated on the theme, “Religious Tolerance and Harmony: Essential Factors for Development, Peace and Stability in the ECOWAS Region,” in Praia, Cabo Verde.

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The draft Plan, which was product of the Committee’s engagements which were held in Praia, Cabo Verde from 14th to 18th September, 2022 was announced by the co-chairman of the Joint Committee Hon. Aime Assine at the close of the meeting on Friday September 16 , 2022 at the Chamber of the Cabo Verde Parliament.

The ECOWAS Parliament’s Religious Tolerance Plan is expected to be tabled at the plenary session of the Community Parliament where it is expected to get a nod from the Committee of the Whole House.

Its key recommendations include to “Promote in Member States, structures that are capable of ensuring enforcement of laws, political will for religious tolerance and engagements for inter-faith activities.”

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Member states of the regional bloc are also to include in their curricula in schools, from primary to universities religious tolerance teachings in order to foster the culture of religious tolerance.

The member states are also to create a legal and formative framework that favors liberties to ensure religious-tolerant culture in ECOWAS.

The recommendation also said the bloc should establish ECOWAS Communication Charter on religious tolerance; allocate a massive government budget on religious general education in ECOWAS centered on cultural and religious diversity for tolerant culture; Promote an ECOWAS-wide campaign sensitsation for the promotion of tolerance culture and, Ensure equity in the treatment of different religions existing within the Community.

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