Charter of the Organization of African Unity, 479 U.N.T.S. 39, entered into force Sept. 13, 1963.
We, the Heads of African States and Governments assembled in the City of Addis
Convinced that it is the inalienable right of all people to control
their own destiny,
Conscious of the fact that freedom, equality, justice and dignity are
essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the
Conscious of our responsibility to harness the natural and human resources
of our continent for the total advancement of our peoples in all spheres of
Inspired by a common determination to promote understanding among our
peoples and cooperation among our states in response to the aspirations of our
peoples for brother-hood and solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic
and national differences,
Convinced that, in order to translate this determination into a dynamic
force in the cause of human progress, conditions for peace and security must
be established and maintained,
Determined to safeguard and consolidate the hard-won independence as
well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our states, and to fight
against neo-colonialism in all its forms,
Dedicated to the general progress of Africa,
Persuaded that the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, to the Principles of which we reaffirm our adherence,
provide a solid foundation for peaceful and positive cooperation among States,
Desirous that all African States should henceforth unite so that the
welfare and well-being of their peoples can be assured,
Resolved to reinforce the links between our states by establishing and
strengthening common institutions,
Have agreed to the present Charter.
1. Tho High Contracting Parties do by the present Chartor establish Organizationn to be known as the ORGANIZATION OF
2. Tho Organization shall include the Continental African States, Madagascar and other Islands surrounding Afrlca.
1. Tho Organization shall have the following purposes:
(a) To promote tho unity and solidarity of the African States;
2. To these ends, the Member States shall~coordinate and harmonize their general policies, especially in the following fields:
(b) To coordinate and intensify thoir cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the pooples of Africa;
(c) To defend their sovereignq, their taritorial integrity and independance;
(d) To eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa; and
(e) To promote intanational cooperation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of
(a) Political and diplomatic cooperation;
b) Economic cooperation, including transport end communications;
(c) Educational and cultural cooperation;
(d) Health, sanitation and nutritional cooperation;
(e) Scientific and technical cooperation; and
(f) Cooperation for defence and security.
The Member States, in pursuit of the purposes stated in Article solemnly affirm and declare their adherence to the following
1. The sovereign equality of all Member States.
2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of States.
3. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each Sta' and for its inalienable right to independent existence.
4. Peaceful settlement of disputes by negotiation, mediadoc conciliation or arb~tration.
5. Unreserved condemnation, in all its forms, of politic' assassination as well as of subversive activities on the part a
neighbouricig States or any other States.
6. Absolute dedication to the total emancipation of the Africa: territories which are still dependent.
7. Affirmation of a policy of non-aligncnent with regard to al blocs.
Each independent sovereign African State shall be entitled to become Member of the Organization.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEMBER SIATES
All Member States shall enjoy equal rights and have equal duties.
The Member States pledge themselves to observe scrupulously the principles enumerated in Article III of the present Charter.
The Organization shall accomplish its purposes through the following principal institutions:
1. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
2. The Council of Ministers.
3. The General Secretariat.
4. The Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration.
THE ASSEMBLY OF HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT
The Assembly of Heads of State and Goverurnent shall be the supreme organ of the Organization. It shall, subject to the
provisions of this Charter, discuss maners of common concern to Africa with a view to coordinating and harmonizing the general
policy of the Organization. It may in addition review the structure, functions and acts of all the organs and any specialized
agencies which may be created in accordance with the present Charter.
The Assembly shall be composed of the Heads of State and Government or their duly accredited representatives and it shall
meet at least once a year. At the request of any Member State and on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Member States,
the Assembly shall meet in extraordinary session.
1. Each Member State shall have one vote.
2. All resolutions shall be determined by a two-thirds majority of the Members of the Organization.
3. Questions of procedure shall require a simple majority. Whether or not a question is one of procedure shall be determined by a
simple majority of all Member States of the Organzation.
4. Two-thirds of the total membership of tho Organization shall form a quorum at any meeting of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall have the power to determine its own rul' procedure.
THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
1. The Council of Ministers shall consist of Foreign Ministers or other Ministers as are designated by the Governments of
2. The Council of Ministers shall meet at least twice a year. When requested by any Member State and approved by two-thirds
of all Member States, it shall meet in extraordinary session.
1. The Council of Ministers shall be responsible to the Assemb Heads of State and Government. It shall be entrusted with the
responsible of preparing conferences of the Assembly.
2. It shall take cognisance of any matter referred to it by the Assembly. It shall be entrusted with the implementation of the
decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. It shall coordinate inter-African cooperation in accordance with
the instructions of the Assembly conformity with Article II (2) of the present Charter.
1. Each Member State shall have one vote.
2. All resolutions shall be determined by a simple majority members of the Council of Ministers.
3. Two-thirds of the total membership of the Council of Ministers duell form a quorum for any meeting of the Council.
The Council shall have the powa to determine its own rules of procedure.
There shall be a Secretary-General of the Organization, who shall be appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State and
Government. The Secretary-General shall direct the affairs of the Secretariat.
There shall be one or more Assistant Secretaries-General of the Organization who shall be appointed by the Assembly of Heads
of state and Government.
The functions and conditions of service of the Secretary-General, of the Assistant Secretaries- General and other employees of
the Secretariat shall be governed by the provisions of this Charter and the regulations approved by the Assembly of Heads of
state and Government.
1. In the performance of their duties the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any
government or from any other authority external to the Organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on
their position as international officials responsible only to the Organization.
2. Each member of the Organization undertakes to respect the exclusive character of the responsibilities of tho Socretary-General
and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
COMMISSION OF MEDIIATION, CONCILIATION
Member States pledge to settle all disputes among themedves by peaceful means and, to this end decide to establish a
Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration, the composition of which and conditiow o] service shall be defined by a
separate Protocol to be approved by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. Said Protocol shall be regarded as
forming an integral part of the present Charter.
The Assembly shall establish such Specialized Commissions as it me, deem necessary, including the following:
1. Economic and Social Commission.
2. Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health Commission.
3. Defence Commission.
Each Spocialized Commission referred to in Article XX shal1 composed of the Ministers concerned or other Ministers or
Plenipotentiaries designated by the Governments of the Member States.
Tbe functions of the Specialized Commissions shall be carried out In acoordance with the provisions of the present Charter and
of tho regulations approved by the Council of Ministers.
The budget of the Organization prepared by the Secretary-General shall be approved by the Council of Ministers. The budget
shall be provided by contribution from Member States in accordance with the scale of assessment of the United Nations;
provided, however, that no Member State shall be assessed an amount exceeding twenty percent of the yearly regular budget of
the Organization. The Member States agree to pay their rospective contributions regularly.
SIGNATURE AND RATIFICATION OF CHARTER
1. This Charter shall be open for signature to all independent sovereign African States and shall be ratified by the signatory
States in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.
2. The original instrument, done, if possible in African languages, in English and French, all texts being equally authentic, shall
be deposited with the Government of Ethiopia which shall trassmit certified copies thereof to all undependent sovereign African
3. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of Ethiopia, which shall notify all signatories of each such
ENTRY INTO FORCE
This Charter shall enter into force immediately upon receipt by the Government of Ethiopia of the instruments of ratification from
two-thirds of the signatory States.
REGISTRATION OF CHARTER
This Charter shall, after due ratification, be registered with the Secretariat of the United Nations through the Government of
Ethiopia in conformity with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
INTERPRETATION OF THE CHARTER
Any question which may arise concerning the interpretation of this Charter shall be decided by a vote of two-thirds of the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization.
ADHESION AND ACCESSION
1. Any independent sovereign African State may at any time notify the Secretary-General of-its intention tc adhere or accede to
2. The Secretary-General shall, on receipt of such notification, communicate a copy of it to all the Member States. Admission
shall be decided by a simple majority of the Member States. The decision of each Member State shall be transmitted to the
Secretary-General, who shall, upon receipt of the required number of votes, communicate.the decision to the State concerned.
Iho working languages of the Organization and all its institutions shall be, If possible African languages, English and French,
Arabic and Portuguese.
The Secretary-General may accept, on behalf of the Organization, gifts, bequests and other donations made to the Organization,
provided that this is approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers shall decide on the privileges and immunities to be accorded to the personnel of the Secretariat in the
respective territories of the Member States.
CESSATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Any State which desires to renounce its membership shall forward a written notification to the Secretary-General. At the end of
one year from the date of such notification, if not withdrawn, the Charter shall cease to apply with respect to the renouncing
State, which shall thereby cease to belong to the Organization.
AMENDMENT OF THE CHARTER
This Charter may be amended or revised if any Member State makes a written request to the Secretary-General to that effect;
provided, however, that the proposed amendment is not submitted to the Assembly for consideration until all the Member States
have been duly notified of it and a period of one year has elapsed. Such an amendment shall not be effective unless approved by
at least two-thirds of all the Member States.
IN FAITH WHEREOF, We, the Heads of African State Governments have signed this Charter.
Done in the City of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
25th day of May, 1963
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