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Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance

2. Democracy and Good Political Governance

  1. At the beginning of the new century and millennium, we reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of democracy and its core values in our respective countries. In particular, we undertake to work with renewed determination to enforce
    • the rule of law;
    • the equality of all citizens before the law and the liberty of the individual;
    • individual and collective freedoms, including the right to form and join political parties and trade unions, in conformity with the constitution;
    • equality of opportunity for all;
    • the inalienable right of the individual to participate by means of free, credible and democratic political processes in periodically electing their leaders for a fixed term of office; and
    • adherence to the separation of powers, including the protection of the independence of the judiciary and of effective parliaments.


  2. We believe in just, honest, transparent, accountable and participatory government and probity in public life. We therefore undertake to combat and eradicate corruption, which both retards economic development and undermines the moral fabric of society.


  3. We are determined to increase our efforts in restoring stability, peace and security in the African continent, as these are essential conditions for sustainable development, alongside democracy, good governance, human rights, social development, protection of environment and sound economic management. Our efforts and initiatives will also be directed at seeking speedy peaceful solutions to current conflicts and at building Africa’s capacity to prevent, manage and resolve all conflicts on the continent.


  4. In the light of Africa’s recent history, respect for human rights has to be accorded an importance and urgency all of its own. One of the tests by which the quality of a democracy is judged is the protection it provides for each individual citizen and for the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. Ethnic minorities, women and children have borne the brunt of the conflicts raging on the continent today. We undertake to do more to advance the cause of human rights in Africa generally and, specifically, to end the moral shame exemplified by the plight of women, children, the disabled and ethnic minorities in conflict situations in Africa.


  5. In Africa’s efforts at democracy, good governance and economic reconstruction, women have a central role to play. We accept it as a binding obligation to ensure that women have every opportunity to contribute on terms of full equality to political and socio-economic development in all our countries.


  6. To fulfil these commitments we have agreed to adopt the following action plan:


  7. In support of democracy and the democratic process We will:
    • ensure that our respective national constitutions reflect the democratic ethos and provide for demonstrably accountable governance;
    • promote political representation, thus providing for all citizens to participate in the political process in a free and fair political environment;
    • enforce strict adherence to the position of the African Union (AU) on unconstitutional changes of government and other decisions of our continental organization aimed at promoting democracy, good governance, peace and security;
    • strengthen and, where necessary, establish an appropriate electoral administration and oversight bodies, in our respective countries and provide the necessary resources and capacity to conduct elections which are free, fair and credible;
    • reassess and where necessary strengthen the AU and sub-regional election monitoring mechanisms and procedures; and
    • heighten public awareness of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, especially in our educational institutions.


  8. In support of Good Governance We have agreed to:
    • adopt clear codes, standards and indicators of good governance at the national, sub-regional and continental levels;
    • accountable, efficient and effective civil service;
    • ensure the effective functioning of parliaments and other accountability institutions in our respective countries, including parliamentary committees and anti-corruption bodies; and
    • ensure the independence of the judicial system that will be able to prevent abuse of power and corruption.


  9. To promote and protect human rights We have agreed to:
    • facilitate the development of vibrant civil society organizations, including strengthening human rights institutions at the national, sub-regional and regional levels;
    • support the Charter, African Commission and Court on Human and People’s Rights as important instruments for ensuring the promotion, protection and observance of Human Rights;
    • strengthen co-operation with the UN High Commission for Human Rights; and
    • ensure responsible free expression, inclusive of the freedom of the press.

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