The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
INL assists the African Union in strengthening its capacity to promote the rule of law regionally and among its member states.
Challenges: The African Union remains an underdeveloped regional organization that has limited organizational capacity, limited fiscal resources, and struggles to recruit and retain well-qualified staff. In recent years, African leaders have increasingly called upon the AU to take more involved roles in African crises, including provision of peacekeeping forces, monitoring of elections, and documentation of human rights abuses. Some AU leaders envision making the AU a resource for member states that can provide technical guidance and expertise in promoting the rule of law, citizen security, and peace.
Goals: On January 30, 2013, the United States and the African Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging to increase cooperation under four main pillars: (1) Peace and Security; (2) Democracy and Governance; (3) Economic Growth, Trade and Development; and (4) Promotion of Opportunity and Development. INL seeks to support the U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU) in expanding U.S.-AU cooperation under these pillars and to help expand the AU’s capabilities in the promotion of the rule of law, accountable governance, and respect for human rights by and among its member states.
INL engages such AU partners as the Department of Political Affairs, Office of Legal Counsel, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, and other relevant bodies to identify ways to strengthen the AU’s capacity to address, legally and through prosecution, transnational crimes such as corruption, terrorism, human and wildlife trafficking, and to effectively implement various instruments to protect and promote human rights and defend intellectual property rights.
Accomplishments: INL has assigned a Senior Rule of Law technical advisor to the USAU to support implementation of INL projects, including training that builds the capacity of multiple AU offices to promote the rule of law on the continent.
Also, through a grant (2014-2018) to the Loyola University of Chicago (LUC) Law School PROLAW program, INL supported the training of twenty-two AU staff in rule of law and project management. The graduates have returned to the AU or their home countries to employ their newly acquired skills in the initiation of rule of law efforts and projects.