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Dar-Es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region


1. We, the Heads of State and Government of Member countries of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, meeting in Dar Es-Salaam, on19 and 20 November 2004, under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union;

2. Deeply concerned about the endemic conflicts and persistent insecurity caused or aggravated by, inter alia, economic stagnation and poverty aggravation, mistrust and suspicion between governments, massive violations of human rights and other policies of exclusion and marginalisation, gender inequality, use of violence for conquering and conserving power, impunity of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, proliferation of armed groups, organized crime and illegal exploitation of natural resources; recognising the efforts undertaken at national, regional and international level to resolve these endemic problems;

3. Recalling that the causes of conflict and insecurity in the region can also be found in our history, including, inter alia, pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras;

4. Aware of the need to respect democracy and good governance, the fundamental principles enshrined in the UN Charter and the Constitutive Act of the AU such as territorial integrity, sovereignty, non-interference and non-aggression, prohibition of any Member State from allowing the use of its territory as a base for aggression and subversion against another Member State, as well as the need for effective and sustained political will to jointly seek peaceful solutions and especially to honour our commitments in a spirit of mutual trust;

5. Conscious that the crises and conflicts affecting one country can rapidly spread to another, and even to the entire region, owing to the close links existing between our peoples;

6. Deeply concerned about the humanitarian and social consequences of crises and armed conflicts especially violations of the human rights of women, children, the elderly, the disabled and youth, the recruitment and use of child soldiers in armed conflicts, the sexual violence and exploitation of girls and women and their use as sexual slaves, the forced displacement of populations, the vulnerability of communities living at the borders, the destruction of basic services, especially the health and education infrastructures, the food insecurity and subsequent malnutrition of populations, the degradation of the eco-system and human settlements, and the strain on the allocation of national resources between the security and social sectors;

7. Concerned about the impact of armed conflicts on the environment, particularly the effect of refugees and internally displaced persons on the degradation of the ecosystem of the Congo River Basin and the African Great Lakes region, and fully aware of the link between peace, environment and development;

8. Deeply concerned over the lack of full application of essential legal instruments contained in International Humanitarian Law and some basic principles, notably those concerning refugees and displaced persons, leading to serious breaches in the protection of, and delivery of humanitarian assistance to, affected populations;

9. Concerned over the HIV/AIDS scourge, the spread of Malaria, Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, the high illiteracy rate, and their consequences on human development;

10. Aware of the lag in economic development and regional integration linked to, among other factors, unsound policy choices, mixed results of structural adjustment programmes, the mismanagement of public resources, the unsustainable debt burden and the destructive effects of war;

11. Considering that the discrimination against women, particularly at decision-making levels, in the areas of peace and security, democracy and political, economic and social governance calls for a deliberate, immediate and sustainable redress;

12. Aware of the fact that political leaders need to work individually and collectively towards reconstruction and development of the region and to promote a future of peace, stability and prosperity;

13. Convinced that the best way to build a viable future for all is through reestablishment of interstate and intrastate relations based on trust, revitalisation of cooperation and integration, within the framework of a regional and inclusive vision for the promotion of sustainable peace, security, democracy and development;


14. Declare our collective determination to transform the Great Lakes Region into a space of sustainable peace and security for States and peoples, political and social stability, shared growth and development, a space of cooperation based on the strategies and policies of convergence within the framework of a common destiny which we are determined to build, in line with the aspirations of our peoples, in conformity also with the AU Vision and Mission, with the full participation of all our peoples, and in partnership with the United Nations, the African Union, and the International Community as a whole;

15. Reaffirm our commitment to achieving this common destiny with strict compliance to the UN Charter, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, as well as all relevant international and regional legal instruments;

16. Commit ourselves to build a Great Lakes Region that is open to other regions of the Continent, by building our cooperation on priority areas: Peace and Security, Democracy and Good Governance, Economic Development and Regional Integration, Humanitarian and Social Issues and to achieve our vision through the priority policy options, guiding principles and mechanisms hereunder;



Commit ourselves to:

17. Fully support the national peace processes in the region and refrain from any acts, statements or attitudes likely to negatively impact them, including through the media;

18. Strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation, through the adoption and effective implementation of Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pacts;

19. Establish an effective regional security framework for the prevention, management and peaceful settlement of conflicts and, to this end, evaluate regularly relevant sub-regional initiatives and mechanisms and adapt them while encouraging appropriate traditional structures;

20. Fight genocide in the Great Lakes region and hereby undertake to neutralize, disarm, arrest and transfer to relevant international tribunals the perpetrators of genocide, including the forces that committed genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and any such other forces that may occur in future in accordance with the 1948 Genocide convention and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions;

21. Strengthen cooperation in the area of defence and security and promote confidence building by establishing policies, measures and mechanisms aimed at enhancing good neighbourliness and multi-sectoral cooperation;

22. Promote common policies to put an end to the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons, as well as anti-personnel mines and, in that regard, harmonize and ensure the implementation of existing agreements and mechanisms;

23. Ensure security at common borders within the context of trans-border proximity management strategies, in consultation with the populations of these areas;

24. Prevent any direct or indirect support, delivery of arms or any other form of assistance to armed groups operating in the region, and deny use of any territory by armed groups to carry out acts of aggression or subversion against other Member States;

25. Adopt and implement, in an effective and sustainable way, national disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programmes (DDR) and, where applicable, ensure regional coordination for repatriation and resettlement components (DDRRR), taking into account the special needs of former child soldiers and female ex-combatants ;

26. Intensify the fight against trans-border crime and terrorism and, to this end, implement measures against impunity through regional mechanisms set up to monitor the enforcement of relevant international Conventions;

27. Protect vulnerable groups, women, children, the elderly, the disabled and the sick, the refugees and displaced persons, involving them in our peace efforts, addressing issues of sexual violence, implementing a Regional Strategy against the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a peace and security issue, in conformity with the relevant regional and international political and legal mechanisms, including Resolutions 1308 and 1325 of the United Nations Security Council, creating conditions for protecting the youth from all sorts of manipulation, particularly during armed conflicts;


Commit ourselves to:

28. Promote, in our States and in the region, policies and strategies based on respect of values, principles and norms of democracy and good governance, as well as observance of human rights;

29. Combat all discriminatory ideologies, policies and practices and any acts of genocide, massacres, terrorism, racism, ethnicism, exclusion, as well as any other forms of violence or crime;

30. Develop common policies and programmes in civic education, free movement of persons, freedom of expression and free exchange of ideas and information;

31. Promote policies of national unity based on multiculturalism, tolerance, the culture of peace and dialogue, to build a common destiny on shared African cultural values;

32. Put in place national and regional policies based on democracy and good governance aimed at consolidating the rule of law, building capacity in leadership, ensuring the transparency of electoral processes, strengthening the efficiency of legal and security services, promoting new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT);

33. Promote effective participation of the different socioeconomic actors, specifically the private sector, civil society, women and youth in the consolidation of democracy and good governance, particularly through the promotion of good governance at local level, and the emergence of independent and responsible media;

34. Encourage the Member States of the Conference to adhere to the NEPAD African Peer Review Mechanism and establish regional bodies on adherence to international conventions on human rights and on criminal practices such as illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons and on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region;

35. Adopt deliberate policies and mechanisms for promoting gender equality at all levels and in all sectors, at the national and regional levels, in accordance with the Millennium Declaration, the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Beijing Platform for Action and the African Union's Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa;

36. Encourage political and legal cooperation between States of the region to address crimes, particularly genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism;


Commit ourselves to:

37. Promote a shared vision of economic development and regional integration that supports comprehensive and sustainable development;

38. Attain regional integration through working towards the harmonisation of economic cooperation instruments, and adopt strategies for macro-economic convergence, and the implementation of regional policies for the free movement of people, goods and services;

39. Cooperate in enhancing economic growth through economic integration and addressing the major challenges faced by the countries, particularly by incorporating an integrated strategy to ensure regional reconstruction of productive sectors and infrastructure;

40. Establish or strengthen regional legal, administrative and institutional frameworks and develop capacity for regional integration;

41. Build a unified economic space for enhanced economic efficiency and for the eradication of poverty, and achieving sustainable economic development;

42. Promote growth and development through revitalisation and harmonization of existing regional integration organisations and the establishment of trans-border poles/zones;

43. Adopt regional policies for the promotion of a vibrant, socially responsible private sector within an environment that is conducive to investments through, inter alia, a mechanism for the integration of the informal sector into the mainstream economy;

44. Promote regional policies and strategies for the diversification and enhancement of sources of income, competitiveness of productive sectors, rational management of land resources, sustained and sound management of vital regional natural and environmental resources such as aquatic ecosystems, mineral deposits and forests of the Congo Basin, as well as sustainable human settlements;

45. Promote regional cooperation in trade, monetary policies, energy, transport, tourism, culture, environment, Information and Communication Technologies, as well as in telecommunications, with an emphasis on railways, oil pipelines, submarine cables and optic fibre network interconnections;

46. Elaborate a regional strategy for the development of agriculture, fisheries, livestock breeding and agro-industry, as well as irrigation policies aimed at reducing dependence on rainfall patterns and climatic changes;

47. Promote cooperation in scientific research and in the social sector, particularly in the fields of education and health, with a view to harmonizing programmes or policies, promoting exchange, fostering rational management of human resources, curbing brain drain and improving living conditions;

48. Formulate national and regional policies that promote the employment of women and youth and develop appropriate regional financing mechanisms so as to give them more access to micro-finance institutions, investment opportunities in trade and control of factors of production such as land, property and capital;

49. Formulate policies and strategies for increased added value through the processing of our raw material and promote knowledge-based activities, as well as service industries, such as tourism, banking and insurance;

50. Harmonise regional policies and mechanisms for the management of the environment, especially of national parks and protected ecosystems, in respect of international conventions and norms on the matter;

51. Pursue a collective regional strategy on enhanced access to international markets as well as accelerated integration of the regional market;

52. Adopt, promote and support the formulation of balanced rural and urban development strategies and policies at national and regional levels;

53. Engage the International Community, especially the UN and all its agencies, the AU and relevant Regional Economic Communities, International Financial Institutions, the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region and other Development Partners, to support the countries of the region in declaring the Great Lakes Region a "Specific Reconstruction and Development Area" with a Special Fund for Reconstruction and, within this framework, pledge to mobilise resources available in the region;

54. Strongly appeal to partners for total debt cancellation given the special post-conflict problems of reconstruction and development in the region;

55. Establish and strengthen national and regional mechanisms to mainstream gender issues in all sectors of economic development;


Commit ourselves to:

56. Strictly comply with obligations and principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ratify, implement at the national level and operationalise all relevant and related international and regional human rights instruments;

57. Comply with the obligations and principles of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa;

58. Respect and use the Guiding Principles on Internally Displaced Persons as proposed by the UN Secretariat, harmonise all the relevant pieces of legislation and define a national and regional framework for the monitoring and follow-up of the standards contained therein and which relate to the access and protection of disaster victims, internally displaced persons, women and children who are victims of conflicts;

59. Strictly adhere to the norms and principles of International Humanitarian Law and related conventions, inter-alia, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of conflict and the provision of humanitarian assistance, including full and free access to all persons requiring assistance;

60. Guarantee the safety of humanitarian personnel in accordance with the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, and Resolution 1502 of the United Nations Security Council, with the understanding that international humanitarian organisations respect the national laws of the countries where they intervene;

61. Address the root causes of and find lasting solutions to, the protracted problems of displaced and refugee populations, notably with regard to their peaceful co-existence with resident populations, their voluntary repatriation and return or local integration, with the full involvement of the local authorities and host populations, and within the framework of tripartite agreements where applicable; encourage countries of origin to create the conditions conducive to the return of refugees;

62. Encourage the International Community in assisting host communities and refugee affected areas, in the spirit of burden sharing, in mitigating the adverse effects of protracted refugee presence;

63. Establish a regional mechanism and national systems enabling the identification, disarmament and separation of combatants from civilian refugees and displaced persons, and their confinement in distinct facilities to prevent them from manipulating refugees and displaced persons for political or military purposes;

64. Apply the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel landmines and ensure the clearing of mines, including in areas inhabited by refugees, returnees and displaced persons and locate camps at a reasonable distance from the borders, as stipulated in the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and relevant conclusions of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees endorsed by the UN General Assembly;

65. Establish a regional early warning and rapid response mechanism for natural and man-made disasters and build capacities for environmental restoration in areas degraded by the settlement of refugee and displaced populations;

66. Prohibit the recruitment of children into armed forces or their participation in any manner in hostilities, including support roles, and to this end, accede to and implement, through domestic legislation in internal legal systems, the relevant provisions of the African Charter on the Right and Welfare of the Child, the optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the relevant recommendations of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict; take all necessary measures to ensure that former child soldiers are exempted from compulsory military service, reunited with their families, reintegrated into their communities, rehabilitated, counselled and resettled;

67. Set up regional mechanisms, including relevant traditional support mechanisms, aimed at providing psychosocial support, medical and legal assistance to women and girls who are victims of rape as well as other acts of sexual violence and exploitation;

68. Adopt a common regional approach for the ratification and implementation of the UN Conventions on Statelessness, harmonize related national laws and standards, and provide refugees and displaced persons with identification documents enabling them to have access to basic services and exercise their rights;

69. Ensure that refugees and displaced persons, upon return to their areas of origin, recover their property with the assistance of the local traditional and administrative authorities;

70. Allocate funds from debt cancellation with priority given to programmes of rehabilitation and reconstruction of social and educational infrastructure, as well as rural development;

71. Promote preventive strategies to curb the spread and reduce the impact of endemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, and reduce the impact of the said diseases by strengthening regional initiatives, especially the Great Lakes Initiative on AIDS (GLIA), the Congo-Ubangui and Chari River Countries Initiative on HIV/AIDS, to facilitate access to medical intervention and to reinforce the collaboration, coordination and sharing of information among the region's States;

72. Make the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a reference for the development of integrated policies aimed at eradicating poverty phenomena;

73. Develop and promote comprehensive curricula on the culture of Peace in the educational systems;

74. Promote the use of Kiswahili as a working language in the Great Lakes region;


We decide to:

75. Give meaning to our shared vision for the Great Lakes Region and, to this end, hold more regular political consultations to consolidate and materialize our cooperation in the form of a Pact on Security, Stability and Development to be adopted at the Second Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region scheduled for 2005 in Nairobi;

76. Set up a Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee, mandated to prepare selected, concrete, achievable and measurable draft Protocols and programmes of action together with specific short, medium and long-term objectives; the Committee is assisted by the Regional Preparatory Committee, enhanced with representatives of the Civil Society, women, youth and other reputable experts with at least one third of women representatives; the Draft Protocols and Programmes of Action will be submitted to the Second Summit and will form with this Declaration, the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region;

77. Direct the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee to take into account the recommendations emanating from the meetings of the Regional Preparatory Committee, other special regional meetings as well as meetings related to the preparation of the Conference, including the First Ladies Forum;

78. Further direct the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee to include in the Draft Protocols and programmes of action, practical modalities for the implementation, regular monitoring and periodic evaluation of the different components of the Pact, at national and regional levels;

79. Recommend that the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee work in close collaboration with the UN, the AU, relevant Regional Economic Communities, development partners and the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region;


80. Invite the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region to continue their commendable diplomatic, political, technical and financial support in order to help create conditions conducive to the implementation of this Declaration and for the requisite preparation of decisions of the Second Summit;

81. Further invite the UN and the AU in consultation with the host country of our First Summit and with the support of the Group of Friends of the Great Lakes Region, to assist Member States of the Conference to implement the Declaration until the Second Summit of the Conference;

82. Declare that the present Declaration takes effect immediately and undertake to respect and implement its provisions.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, WE, the Heads of State and Government or our duly authorised representatives, have signed this Declaration.

Done in Dar-Es-Salaam, this 20th day of November 2004, in four (4) original texts in the English, French, Arabic and Portuguese languagues, all texts being equally authentic

President of the Republic of Angola

President of the Republic of Burundi

President of the Central African Republic

President of the Republic of Congo

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo

President of the Republic of Kenya

President of the Republic of Rwanda

President of the Republic of the Sudan

President of the United Republic of Tanzania

President of the Republic of Uganda

President of the Republic of Zambia


President of the Republic of South Africa

President of the Gabonese Republic

President of the Republic Malawi

President of the Republic of Mozambique

President of the Republic of Namibia

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current Chaiperson of Africa Union

President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

Secretary-General of the United Nations

Chairperson of the African Union Commission

[Source: United Nations Department of Political Affairs, New York, USA]

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