GUIDED by the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the States Parties to the present “African Youth Charter”;

GUIDED by the vision, hopes and aspirations of the African Union, inclusive of Africa’s integration, the inherent dignity and inalienable rights afforded to all members of the human family as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976), and articulated for the African peoples through the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1986);

RECALLING the resolution of the Heads of State and Government during the 1999 Algiers Summit for the development of the Pan-African Charter;

FULLY ATTACHED to the virtues and values of African historical tradition and civilization which form the foundation for our concept of people’s rights;

RECALLING the historic injustices imposed on Africa such as slavery, colonization, depletion of natural resources and taking into account the firm will of African peoples for self-determination and the economic integration of Africa;

CONVINCED that Africa’s greatest resource is its youthful population and that through their active and full participation, Africans can surmount the difficulties that lie ahead;

BEARING IN MIND the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights relating to the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) and the progress achieved in eliminating gender discrimination, but ever cognisant of the obstacles that still prevent girls and women from fully participating in African society;

REAFFIRMING the need to take appropriate measures to promote and protect the rights and welfare of children as outlined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989) and through the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1999);

ACKNOWLEDGING the commitments already made towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inviting the partners to reaffirm their support to advance the well-being of youth;

RECOGNISING the efforts made by States Parties and civil societies to address the economic, social, educational, cultural and spiritual needs of youth;

NOTING with concern the situation of African youth, many of whom are marginalized from mainstream society through inequalities in income, wealth and power, unemployment and underemployment, infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, living in situations of poverty and hunger, experiencing illiteracy and poor quality educational systems, restricted access to health services and to information, exposure to violence including gender violence, engaging in armed conflicts and experiencing various forms of discrimination;

RECALLING the United Nations World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and beyond and the ten priority areas identified for youth (education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, girls and young women and youth participating in decision-making), and the five additional areas (HIV/AIDS, ICT, Inter-generational dialogue,..) adopted at the 2005 UN General assembly;

RECOGNISING that youth are partners, assets and a prerequisite for sustainable development and for the peace and prosperity of Africa with a unique contribution to make to the present and to future development;

CONSIDERING the role that youth have played in the process of decolonisation, the struggle against apartheid and more recently in its efforts to encourage the development and to promote the democratic processes on the African Continent; REAFFIRMING that the continuous cultural development of Africa rests with its youth and therefore requires their active and enlightened participation as espoused in the Cultural Charter for Africa;

GUIDED by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Strategic Framework for Youth Programme of 2004 that is working towards youth empowerment and development;

ACKNOWLEDGING the increasing calls and the enthusiasm of youth to actively participate at local, national, regional and international levels to determine their own development and the advancement of society at large;

ACKNOWLEDGING ALSO the call in Bamako (2005) by the youth organisations across Africa to empower youth by building their capacity, leadership, responsibilities and provide access to information such that they can take up their rightful place as active agents in decision-making and governance;

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION the inter-relatedness of the challenges facing youth and the need for cross-sectoral policies and programmes that attend to the needs of youth in a holistic manner;

CONSIDERING that the promotion and protection of the rights of youth also implies the performance of duties by youth as by all other actors in society;

TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION the needs and aspirations of young displaced persons, refugees and youth with special needs.

Full Declaration is available here