The Ouagadougou Declaration
Posted July 15, 2002
Who We Are
We, leaders of a broad spectrum of Liberian political parties, civil society organizations and opinion in and out of Liberia, united in the quest for peace and national harmony in our country, have gathered here in Ouagadougou from July 8 to 11, 2002 through the kind hospitality of the president, government and people of Burkina Faso, with the encouragement and in the presence of representatives of the Economic Community of West African States, and witnessed by a number of countries of the international community and international non-governmental organizations, to deliberate upon vexing issues currently obtaining in our dear country, with a view to ushering in peace, promoting reconciliation, and moving the country forward.
Why We Have Assembled
Particularly, we have convened this conference to deliberate and reach a consensus on ways to:
Building On Past Efforts
This conference is built on previous and on-going initiatives in and out of Liberia by various groups, such as the inter-religious council, the civil society movement, the Mano River Union women peace network, the Abuja march 14-15, 2002 meeting, and the Bethesda (USA) meeting of June 28-29, 2002, initiatives undertaken for the purpose of convincing Liberians about the dangers presented by continued armed conflict, poor governance, and the lack of democratic values, principles and practices in our national life.
In order to implement measures aimed at correcting these ills, while complementing those other initiatives, this conference has been successful in bringing to the process of dialogue, for the first time, one of the parties to the current armed conflict: Liberians united for reconciliation and democracy. In so doing, this conference has also provided, for the first time, an opportunity for Liberians and the international community to hear the grievances and demands of Liberians united for reconciliation and democracy. Regrettably, the ruling national patriotic party failed to keep its promise to participate, thus missing a golden opportunity to engage LURD in contribution to the advancement of peace.
What We Have Done Here
The leaders have engaged in discussions that were free and frank and have had the opportunity to understand clearly the perspectives of one another. We have been able to evolve a shared understanding of our common plight. While we have not filled in all of the details, on the basis of this understanding, we have agreed on the broad outlines of the way forward.
What We Have Resolved
Having deliberated on the themes of security human rights and the media; reconciliation; humanitarian assistance; elections; and economic reconstruction, we resolved that the framework for exiting from war to peace and promoting national reconciliation, building democracy and economic reconstruction should entail the following:
1. Negotiation of an immediate cease-fire between the government of Liberia and the Liberians united for reconciliation and democracy (LURD);
2. Establishing, mobilizing and deploying an international security stabilization force with the mandate of providing security throughout the country and monitoring the ceasefire;
3. Establishing and putting into place a mechanism for disarming and demobilizing all armed groups; restructuring and retraining the armed forces of Liberia and all security apparatus of the state; management of the peace-building and democratic process.
4. Ensure the conduct of internationally acceptable free, fair, and transparent elections;
How We Want Our Resolutions Implemented
To sustain the progress made in these deliberations, the conference has resolved to formally establish the Liberian leadership forum as a vehicle for consultation and collaboration among Liberian political parties, civil society organizations, and democratic institutions in and out of Liberia for the purpose of moving the country forward.
To ensure the timely and effective implementation of this resolution, the conference calls for the establishment of an international contact group on Liberia comprising the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Senegal and appeals to these countries to assume international leadership in assisting Liberians attain peace.
The conference appeals to the government of Liberia, the Mano River Union, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union, the European union, and the United Nations to endorse and support this approach to peace in Liberia.
The conference further lauds the government of Burkina Faso’s offer to assist in the dissemination of this important plan and propel international support within the international community.
In response to the call of the Liberian people for greater unity, the political parties represented at this conference have resolved to collaborate through mergers, coalitions and/or alliances. The parties appeal to the forum to encourage this effort.
Noting, with gratitude, the laudable efforts undertaken by Liberian civil society organizations to promote democracy and the observance of human rights, the political parties further urge these organizations to strengthen their collaboration with the political parties in these areas.
Notwithstanding the failure of the organizing bureau of the proposed national peace and reconciliation conference in Liberia to attend this conference and thus avail itself of an opportunity to disseminate information about the proposed Monrovia conference, members of the Liberian collaborating political parties (CPP) attending the Ouagadougou conference appeal to fellow participants to welcome the intent and spirit of the Monrovia conference. They further exhort the organizing bureau to reach out to all Liberians and to encourage the Liberian government to create the requisite enabling environment that will allow Liberians from far and wide to attend.
The conference expresses its profound thanks and appreciation to the president, government and people of Burkina Faso for hosting this conference and for their kind hospitalities and further requests their continued engagement with the people of Liberia in their efforts to attain peace.
The conference also expresses its gratitude to the Soros foundation for having provided financial support to the conference and thanks the international republican institute for its facilitation.
The conference further thanks the ECOWAS secretariat for its presence at these proceedings and its continued support of Liberia’s search for peace.
Adopted this 11th day of July, 2002 in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso