At the initiative of the Social & Human Sciences Sector of Unesco a Permanent forum of Arab-African Dialogue on Democracy & Human Rights was launched in Cairo in 2005.After 3 sessions, the work was discontinued by UNESCO.IMAGINE AFRICA INSTITUTE is now proposing to relaunch it in its programme series if South-South cooperation. 

      Pierre Sané ( Président de Imagine Africa Institute)

1. “ Léopold Sédar Senghor defined Africanity as the encounter and the symbiosis between negritude and Arab identity since our populations are interwoven and share a long common history. “ President Abdou Diouf

2. As said by President Abdou Diouf, Léopold Sédar Senghor actually defined “Africanity” as the encounter and symbiosis between negritude and “arabité” (Arab identity). Why? Because our populations are interlinked: they share a long and common history through commercial exchanges, movements of peoples, religion, etc. Because also there is territorial continuity: we are neighbours. Further, our Presidents and Ministers know each other and meet on a regular basis in the framework of several fora. Economic cooperation has been significantly strengthened and development aid continues to be generous.

But civil society organizations – parliamentarians, researchers, journalists, human rights defenders, human rights commissions – do not know sufficiently each other and have no permanent space for joint reflection and dialogue.

3. Democratic progress in our respective regions needs constantly to be consolidated and States must be encouraged to improve human rights regimes. Nevertheless, external pressure in itself is not sufficient and may even be counterproductive. We have to go at our own pace, but not too slowly since our populations are asking for democracy and expect their rights to be respected. If we are to guarantee social peace and economic development, we need to liberate the creative energies of our peoples which can only blossom in an environment freed from terror and misery. All these crucial reasons lead us to regard as indispensable the creation of a sustainable, structured partnership between Africa and the Arab region based on concerted decisions.

This partnership would be a kind of agreed union around democracy and human rights, which could lead to a strengthened involvement of the different actors working on these issues.