Kathryn Nash
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An era of change
in African peace
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The 1970s and 1980s were a period of turmoil and then change for the Organization of African Unity. Several atrocities in the 1970s, notably the brutality of Emperor Bokassa in Central African Republic and Idi Amin in Uganda, would shock the continent and push the OAU to further re-evaluate its sole focus on state security. These atrocities were coupled with continuing advocacy from African elites, who argued that the OAU’s tolerance for internal violence in the name of strict non-interference was contrary to pan-Africanist ideals and damaging to the security and interests of the region. This chapter further explores the attempted reforms that followed the tragedies of the 1970s, including the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, OAU support for a multilateral peacekeeping mission in Chad, and the proposal for an OAU Political Security Council. Finally, it discusses how regional interests began to evolve to focus more on economic development and human security issues. Overall, the events of the 1970s and response of the OAU in the late 1970s and early 1980s show the process through which ideas that prioritized state security were discredited and the beginnings of evolving pan-Africanist ideas that led to a focus on human security.

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African peace

Regional norms from the Organization of African Unity to the African Union


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