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2004 | Dar es Salaam Declaration

The Dar-es-Salaam Declaration was the first document produced by the International Conference on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region. The Declaration can be downloaded via this page. The Conference was created in response to the recognition that the persistent, intractable conflicts afflicting many African countries had a regional dimension requiring inter-State collaboration and cooperation. In 2006 the Declaration would become incorporated into the agreement known as the ‘Great Lakes Pact’ together with all the accompanying Protocols.

Several provisions of the Declaration are relevant for the safety of women from sexual violence and for their greater inclusion in the affairs of the State. Art 6 expresses deep concern ‘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…’ Art 11 acknowledges ‘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’.

Policy priorities for peace and security include protecting ‘vulnerable groups, women, children, the elderly, the disabled and the sick, the refugees and displaced persons, involving them in our peace efforts, [and] addressing issues of sexual violence…’

Democracy and good governance imperatives include promoting ‘effective participation of …the private sector, civil society, women and youth in the consolidation of democracy and good governance…’ (Art 33), while under Art 35 member States commit to ‘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-SC 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.

 Finally, among ‘Humanitarian and Social Issues’ to be prioritized is the setting up of ‘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’ (Art 67). Articles 6 and 67 of the Declaration are explicitly referred to as bases of the Great Lakes Pact's Protocol on Sexual Violence (see elsewhere in this section).