Esteemed Members and Colleagues,
“The greatest glory in living is not in falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela
I write to you at a time when the world is facing a horrible pandemic (COVID-19) and its effects on our societies, polities and economies. In the midst of these hard times we remain optimistic that this too shall pass, and the world will rise in health and prosperity once again.
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa continue to rise, risks are also increasing, and extreme precautions are necessary. Various African Governments have strived to put in place measures meant to curb the spread of the virus, mitigate the loss of life and some have gone the extra mile to come up with ways of cushioning their citizens financially. For this reason, PALU lauds all the efforts currently deployed by African Governments to mitigate risk, by imposing a comprehensive set of preventive and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic.
At PALU, we have put measures in place for tele-working to limit the risks to our employees and stakeholders. We have also cancelled all non-essential travel and will neither organise nor participate in any physical meetings until at least the end of April 2020. We are also looking at organising online meetings and webinars to remain as responsive as possible to the needs of our members and the legal community.
The PALU Executive Committee also took the proactive step to postpone our 11th Annual Conference, which will now be held from 23rd to 26th September 2020 in Arusha, Tanzania.
We invite our members to continuously stay informed, seek credible data and restrain from disseminating false or unverified information. We also encourage them to proactively assist our governments to formulate and implement measures that are appropriate and adequate to their specific country contexts, and that are in keeping with the just rule of law and promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights. To this effect, we invite you to message the account of the World Health Organisation at +41 79 893 18 92 by simply writing Hi to receive up-to-date information from major international organisations entrusted with our public health and safety.
Later this month, we will share with you an advisory with measures, both from the legal sector on the continent and governments, on the COVID-19 pandemic, that will lead to more virtual engagements.
Until we are able to meet again in person, the PALU Executive Committee, our Secretariat team and I, wish you and your families good physical, mental and spiritual health under the present difficult circumstances.
Chief Emeka J.P Obegolu
President, Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)