Nelson Mandela

I dream of an Africa which is in peace with itself.- Nelson Mandela

Statement by Minister of State Ms. Miet Smet, President of AWEPA, on the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels

24 March 2016

Brussels 1

Brussels, Belgium – At AWEPA, we are deeply saddened by the news of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and friends of those affected by these attacks and we hope for the fast recovery of all those who have suffered injuries.

As my place of work for many years, Brussels is a city which is close to my heart and I am distressed and shocked by this attack in my country. But our thoughts and wishes are also with all those around the world afflicted by terrorism. All too often, we are reminded that terrorism continues to inflict pain and suffering on thousands of people across the globe.

To help put an end to this scourge, AWEPA has placed much importance on the issue of terrorism through its recent work in Europe and Africa. Throughout our seminars and activities, African and European parliamentarians have agreed that the best way to address the terrorist threat is to tackle its root causes by building inclusive societies where all minority groups feel that their voices can be heard. Only in this way, by ensuring that all citizens have a stake in their society, can the root causes of terrorism be mitigated.

Parliaments are the key to the creation of such societies; these institutions lie at the heart of democracy and should represent all voices in society. Yet all too often we see that parliaments are insufficiently prioritised and under-funded.

AWEPA therefore calls, once more, for a critical amount of investment to be directed towards parliamentary strengthening in Africa in order to build accountable and inclusive institutions and societies. We call on parliamentarians across Europe and Africa to strive in their roles to tackle the root causes of terrorism through the promotion of inclusive societies and institutions, high-quality employment and education, the elimination of poverty and inequality, and equal access to opportunities and resources, and to ensure the accountability and inclusivity of their parliaments.

It is only with such an approach that we begin to move towards bringing an end to tragic and senseless events such as the attacks that took so many lives in Brussels.