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Compilation of documents or texts adopted and used by various intergovernmental, international, regional and subregional organizations aimed at promoting and consolidating democracy



Bamako Declaration

We, Ministers and Heads of Delegation of the States and Governments of Countries using French as a common language, meeting at Bamako for the International Symposium on the status of practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world,

Guided by the provisions of the Francophonie Charter, which defines as priority objectives assistance in the establishment and development of democracy, conflict prevention and support for the rule of law and human rights,

Recalling the Francophonie's dedication to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to regional charters, as well as the commitments made at the Francophone Summits of Dakar (1989), Chaillot (1991), Mauritius (1993), Cotonou (1995), Hanoi (1987) and Moncton (1999),

Situating our action within the framework of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004),

Considering the actions taken by the Francophonie in the last ten years to support the democratic processes,

Desirous of furthering democracy through economic and social development and fair distribution of national resources so as to ensure equal access to education, training, health and employment,

Seeking to fulfill the objective set at the Moncton Summit to hold an International Symposium on the status of the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world, to strengthen cooperation and joint efforts to promote the rule of law and a democratic culture, and to open in this way a new stage in the dialogue between States and governments of countries using French as a common language, in order to better underline the major features of their recent experience and of their unique circumstances,

1 - Recognize

. That the status of the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world over the past ten years reflects undeniable progress: human rights have been enshrined in constitutions, institutions of democracy and the rule of law have been established, counterbalances are making themselves felt, multiparty systems have emerged in many Francophone countries, free, fair and transparent elections have been held, the opposition is contributing to the workings of democracy, and local democracy has been furthered through decentralization;

. That the status also betrays shortcomings and failures: recurring conflicts, breakdown of democratic processes, genocide and massacres, serious violations of human rights, persistent behavior that undermines the development of a democratic culture, lack of independence for certain institutions, and constraints of an economic, financial and social nature that tend to disillusion citizens with the democratic system;

2 - Declare our adherence to the following fundamental principles:

1. Democracy is a system of universal values based on recognition of the inalienable dignity and the equal value of all human beings; everyone has the right to play an active role in social, professional and political life and to enjoy the right to development;

•  The essential elements of any democratic regime must include the constitutional rule of law, which implies submission of all institutions to the law, the separation of powers, the free exercise of human rights and fundamental liberties, and equality before the law for all citizens, men and women;

3. Democracy requires, in particular, the holding, at regular intervals, of free, fair and transparent elections, based on the respect and exercise, without any hindrance or discrimination, of the right to freedom and physical integrity for every voter and every candidate, the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, especially through the press and other communications media, freedom of assembly and demonstration, and freedom of association;

4. Democracy is incompatible with any substantial change in the electoral system introduced arbitrarily or surreptitiously, and there must be a reasonable interval between the adoption of any amendment and its entry into force;

•  Democracy presupposes the existence of political parties that have equal rights and are free to organize and to express themselves, provided their programs and actions do not call into question the fundamental values of democracy and human rights. Thus, democracy goes hand-in-hand with a multiparty system. The opposition must be guaranteed a clearly defined status free of any ostracism ;

6. Democracy requires the practice of dialogue at all levels, between citizens, between social partners, between political parties, and between the State and civil society. Democracy implies participation by citizens in political life and allows them to exercise their right of control;

3 - Proclaim

1. That Francophonie and democracy are inseparable: strengthening the Francophone ideal will be impossible without steady progress towards democracy and its embodiment in reality; the Francophonie is, therefore, committed to democracy as a priority that must be translated into concrete proposals and achievements;

2. That for the Francophonie there is no single organizational scheme for democracy and that the forms in which democracy expresses itself, while respecting universal principles, must everywhere reflect people's specific historic, cultural and social realities;

3. That democracy, as the political framework for the rule of law and the protection of human rights, is the system of government that best promotes long-term stability and legal security; thanks to the climate of freedom that it creates, democracy also establishes the conditions for freely accepted mobilization on the part of the people to achieve development; democracy and development cannot be dissociated: these are the factors promoting a lasting peace;

4. That citizens, including the poorest and the most disadvantaged, will judge democracy by the care with which all of their rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural, are respected, by the degree to which they are able to enjoy those rights and by the extent to which those rights are protected by guarantees and machinery. These conditions are essential for inspiring public confidence in democratic institutions and enlisting people's active participation in political and social life;

5. That in order to preserve democracy, the Francophonie condemns all seizures of power through violence, arms or other illegal means;

6. That in order to consolidate democracy, the action undertaken by the Francophonie must be based on international cooperation that draws on the positive practices and experiences of each member State and Government;

7. That international relations must also be governed by democratic principles in all their dimensions, political, economic, social, cultural and legal;

4 - Undertake the following commitments:

A. To consolidate the rule of law

1. To strengthen the capacities of the institutions, traditional or new, that make up the rule of law and to strive to enable them to enjoy the full independence they need in order to carry out their mission impartially;

2. To encourage a more vigorous parliamentary system by substantially facilitating the work of elected representatives, ensuring respect for their immunity and providing them with the necessary training;

3. To ensure independence for the judiciary, freedom for the legal profession, and the promotion of an effective and accessible justice as the guarantor of the rule of law, in accordance with the Declaration and Five-year Action Plan adopted at Cairo by the 3rd Conference of Francophone Ministers of Justice;

4. To establish the principle of transparency as the rule governing the functioning of institutions;

5. To ensure that all agencies and institutions and all establishments, public or private, that handle public funds are subject to generalized and expanded control by impartial supervisory bodies;

6. To support the activities of institutions established in the framework of regional integration and cooperation, with a view to promoting the emergence at this level of a civic conscience oriented towards development, progress and solidarity;

B. For the holding of free, fair and transparent elections

7. To strive to strengthen the national capacities of all players and institutions involved in the electoral process, with particular attention to establishing reliable civil registries and voters' lists;

8. To ensure that the organization of elections, from the preparatory stage through the election campaign to the counting of votes and the proclamation of results, including, where required, the resolution of any disputes, is conducted in full transparency and is handled by credible bodies whose independence is recognized by all;

9. To guarantee the full participation of citizens in the vote, as well as equal treatment of candidates during the entire electoral process;

10. To involve all legally established political parties, those in the majority as well as those in the opposition, in all stages of the electoral process, with full respect for the democratic principles enshrined in the basic legislation and the institutions, and allow them access to funding from the State budget;

11. To take the necessary steps to move towards national financing of elections with public funds;

12. To accept the results of free, fair and transparent elections;

C. For a peaceful political life

13. To ensure that basic legislation governing democratic life reflects a broad national consensus, while respecting international standards, and that it is regularly assessed and updated;

14. To involve all political parties, whether of the majority or the opposition, in national, regional and local political life, in accordance with the law, so as to settle any conflicts of interest peacefully;

15. To promote citizen participation in public life through the progressive introduction of local democracy, as a central condition for strengthening democracy;

16. To prevent, or as necessary ensure the peaceful settlement of, disputes and tensions between political and social groups, through all appropriate mechanisms and means, such as establishing special status for former Heads of State, without prejudice to any criminal liability on their part, under national and international laws;

17. To recognize the role and facilitate the constant involvement of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, the media and traditional moral authorities, enabling them, in the public interest, to make their contribution to a balanced political life;

18. To ensure effective respect for freedom of the press and guarantee that all political forces have an equitable access to the public and private media, both printed and audiovisual, under regulations consistent with democratic principles;

D. For instilling a democratic culture and full respect for human rights

19. To develop a spirit of tolerance and promote a democratic culture in all its dimensions, so as to foster, through education and training, an awareness of the ethical demands of democracy and of human rights among public officials, all players in political life and the citizenry at large;

20. To promote, to that end, the emergence of new partnerships between public and private initiatives, mobilizing all those engaged in promoting democracy and human rights;

21. To ratify the principal international and regional human rights instruments, honor and fulfill the commitments flowing therefrom, ensure their full implementation and give the proper training to all those responsible for enforcing them;

22. To adopt in particular, in order to combat impunity, all measures necessary for prosecuting and punishing those responsible for serious violations of human rights, as provided for in various international and regional legal instruments, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and to encourage its swift ratification by the greatest possible number of countries;

23. To create, generalize and strengthen national institutions, advisory or otherwise, for promoting human rights and to support the creation of structures within national administrations devoted specifically to human rights, and to assist the defenders of human rights in their efforts;

24. To take all appropriate measures to ensure that members of minority groups, whether ethnic, philosophical, religious or linguistic, enjoy the freedom to practice or not to practice a religion, the right to speak their own language, and to have their own cultural life;

25. To ensure respect for the dignity of immigrants and the enforcement of the relevant provisions contained in international instruments concerning them;


To these ends, and with a view to inspiring a renewed partnership, we intend:

. To intensify cooperation between the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) and international and regional organizations, to develop concerted action to democratize international relations, and to support, in this context, initiatives to promote democracy;

. To strengthen the mechanisms for cooperation and permanent dialogue with international non-governmental organizations recognized by the Francophonie, and particularly with those that pursue the same objectives in the fields of democracy and human rights;

5 - We decide to recommend the implementation of the following procedures to monitor the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world:

1. The Secretary-General will keep himself informed at all times of the situation with respect to the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world, relying in particular on the Delegation for Human Rights and Democracy, responsible for observing the respect of democracy and human rights in member countries of the Francophonie;

A continued evaluation of the practices of democracy, rights and freedoms in the Francophone world shall be carried out, as a preventive measure, within the framework of the International Organization of the Francophonie, on the basis of the founding principles set forth above. This evaluation shall make it possible to:

. Define the most appropriate measures for helping democracy, rights and freedoms to take root,

. Provide States and Governments, at their request, with the necessary assistance in these fields,

. Help to set up an early warning system;

2. In the case of a democratic crisis or of severe human rights violations, the official bodies of the Francophonie will address the issue, consistent with the provisions of the Charter, and will take initiatives to prevent the worsening of such situations and to help to resolve them. To that end, the Secretary-General proposes the following specific measures:

. He may send a facilitator to help seek consensus on possible solutions. The success of any action depends upon the prior acceptance of the facilitation process by the authorities of the country concerned. The facilitator shall be selected by the Secretary-General after consultation with the President of the Ministerial Conference, with the consent of all parties involved in the dispute. Facilitation shall be carried out in close coordination with the Permanent Council of the Francophonie (CPF) ;

. Where the Francophone community is concerned about a specific trial or proceeding, he may send judicial observers to the country, with the concurrence of the CPF and the country itself;

3. In the case of a breakdown of democracy, or massive human rights violations, the following actions shall be taken:

The Secretary-General shall immediately consult with the President of the Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie;

The issue shall be immediately and automatically included on the agenda of the CPF, which may be convened in emergency session and, where necessary, may:

. Confirm the breakdown of democracy or the existence of massive human rights violations,

. Condemn them publicly,

. Call for the re-establishment of the constitutional order or an immediate halt to such violations;

The CPF shall notify the parties concerned of its decision;

The Secretary-General shall establish contact with de facto authorities. He may send an information and contact mission to the country. This mission shall prepare a report as quickly as possible. The report shall be submitted to the national authorities for their comments. The mission's report and the comments of the national authorities shall subsequently be submitted to the CPF for any action that it deems appropriate;

The CPF may take the following measures:

. It may refuse to support candidates presented by the country concerned for elective positions in international organizations,

. It may refuse to allow events or conferences of the Francophonie to be held in the country concerned,

. It may make recommendations concerning the granting of visas to de facto authorities of the country concerned, and cut back inter-governmental contacts,

. It may suspend participation by representatives of the country concerned in meetings of Francophonie official bodies,

. It may suspend multilateral cooperation of the Francophonie, with the exception of programs of direct benefit to the civilian population and those that might support a return to democracy,

. It may propose suspension of the country concerned from the Francophonie. In the case of a military coup against a democratically elected government, such suspension is decided;

When steps are taken to restore the constitutional order or put en end to massive human rights violations, the CPF shall assess the procedure for the return to the normal institutional functioning, together with guarantees of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall determine the measures that the Francophonie may take to support this process in partnership with other international and regional organizations;

If necessary, the CPF will place the issue before the Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie, through its President;

The question of the breakdown of democracy or massive human rights violations in any country, and the measures taken, shall remain on the agenda of the CPF for as long as such breakdown or violations persist .


We, Ministers and Heads of delegation of States and Governments using French as a common language,

Hereby adopt this declaration;

Request the Secretary-General of the International Organization of the Francophonie to ensure its implementation;

Transmit the attached draft program of action for consideration of Heads of State and Government at their Ninth Francophone Summit in Beirut .

Bamako , November 3, 2000


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