(180320) -- KIGALI, March 20, 2018 (Xinhua) -- African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (L) and Chairperson of the AU Executive Council and Rwandan foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo talk at an AU executive council meeting in Kigali. File picture: Xinhua/Gabriel Dusabe

MIDRAND – Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), has called for the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to be given full legislative powers to help address the problems facing the continent. 

He also vowed to fight sexual discrimination against women.

Mahamat made his comments at a press conference, and as PAP's guest of honour, following the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ordinary Session of PAP’s Fourth Parliament in Midrand, Gauteng on Monday.

One of the problems facing the AU is that member states have failed to ratify many of the instruments adopted by the continental organisation, according to the chairperson. “Words have to be turned into actions," said Mahamat.

The issue of peace and security was something that also needed to be addressed even though there had been an improvement in the security situation in Africa.

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"In some parts of Africa, there remain challenges in regard to terrorism and human trafficking. Stability through good governance and human rights are linked to these issues which in turn are contingent on empowering women, youth and civil society because these unresolved issues are the root causes of the problems facing Africa," he said.

Mahamat then went on to challenge media reports that there was some kind of "apartheid" against women on the continent and that the AU had done insufficient to address this issue.

"The AU has been built on gender equality and during my appointment, I've appointed more women than men into important positions and this was not because I was doing women a favour but because of their natural abilities and the important roles they perform in society it was natural to appoint them.

"I'm committed to getting rid of gender discrimination and sanctions will be imposed on anybody or person we find discriminating against women," the AUC head said.

African News Agency/ANA