Declaration on Refugee Protection within Southern Africa 1998

Date Signed

The SADC region has long hosted a large number of refugees from within the region and from other geographical areas. While SADC welcomes legitimate seekers of asylum, it also recognises that refugees are a symptom of economic and social imbalances. In line with their commitment to uphold universal human rights, SADC passed its Declaration on Refugee Protection, calling for the harmonisation of Member States’ national policies, laws, and procedures for refugees.

The Declaration recognises that human rights are protected more effectively through regional cooperation. Therefore, Member States agree to recommit to the conventions of the Organisation of African Unity on refugees, observing international standards for refugee protection. As well, Member States remain committed to addressing the root causes of refugee movement, promoting democracy and preventative diplomacy. The Declaration also calls upon the international community to support governments hosting refugees and rehabilitating affected regions, encouraging voluntary repatriation whenever feasible.