Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Africa Rising: The Kilimanjaro Declaration

Africa Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity logo

A new Pan-African movement is gaining momentum in an effort to build strength by joining forces to work for peace, justice and dignity across the continent. The following article was published in the July-August 2017 issue of NewsNotes.

In recent decades international policymakers and journalists have described Africa with colorful monikers. In the 1990s, it was labeled the “hopeless continent.” Then, the rapid economic expansion of many African nations in the first decade of the 21st century inspired the “Africa Rising” slogan. Recently, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, offered a more cautious “Africa Watching” label. A different, more realistic description of Africa as a continent unified in vision and purpose is gaining prevalence among Africans themselves. 

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity (http://africans-rising.org/) is a new Africa-wide social movement focused on fostering solidarity and unity of purpose for the peoples of Africa to build the future they want – a right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity. It was officially launched on African Liberation Day, May 25. The movement’s founding charter, entitled, the Kilimanjaro Declaration, is as follows:

We, the citizens and descendants of Africa, as part of the Africans Rising Movement, are outraged by the centuries of oppression; we condemn the plunder of our natural and mineral resources and the suppression of our fundamental human rights. 

We are determined to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the peoples of Africa to build the future we want – a right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity. 

On August 23-24, 2016, two hundred and seventy two representatives from civil society, trade unions, women, young people, men, people living with disabilities, parliamentarians, media organizations and faith-based groups, from across Africa and the African diaspora gathered in Arusha, Tanzania and committed to build a pan-African movement that recognizes these rights and freedoms of our people. 

THE CONFERENCE DECLARED THAT: 

1. Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our people, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised. 
2. Africans have a diverse, rich and powerful heritage that is important to heal ourselves and repair the damage done by neoliberalism to our humanity and environment. Being African, embracing the philosophy of Ubuntu should be a source of our pride. 
3. African youth are a critical foundation for building the success of our continent and must play a central role in building Africans Rising. 
4. Africa’s diaspora whether displaced through slavery and colonialism or part of modern day migration are part of Africa’s history and future. They are a reservoir of skills, resources and passion that must be harnessed and integrated into our movement. 
5. We are committed to a decentralized, citizen-owned future that will build support and solidarity for local struggles, empower local leadership and immerse our activists in grassroots work of building social movements from below and beyond borders. 
6. We are committed to building a citizen’s movement that is accountable to the constituencies we represent and enforcing the highest standards of ethical behavior. 

THEREFORE, WE RESOLVE THAT OUR WORK SHOULD BUILD A LOCAL, NATIONAL, CONTINENTAL AND GLOBAL CAMPAIGN THAT IS: 

a. Expanding space for civic and political action 
b. Fighting for women’s rights and freedoms across society 
c. Focusing our struggles on the right to equity and dignity 
d. Demanding good governance as we fight corruption and impunity 
e. Demanding climate and environmental justice 

CALL ON OUR PEOPLE AND ACTIVISTS TO: 

Join this Africans Rising Movement and mobilize our people around this shared vision; organize and connect local struggles under this umbrella; galvanize solidarity with all African struggles. This movement is committed to peace and nonviolent action. We assert our inherent rights as Africans and invite our governments, leaders, other stakeholders and institutions to join us in pursuing the future we want to leave our future generations. 

We commit to mobilizing our people in Africa to launch this movement on the 25th of May, 2017, when we deepen the meaning of African Liberation Day and call on all sectors of our society to mobilize and organize events in every African country that will build the momentum towards the genuine liberation of our beautiful continent.

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