Definition and Categories
U.N and Refugees
Lebanon and Refugees
Role of NGOs
Reports and Studies
Press Reviews

  The Refugees

OAU Convention

Page I Page II

Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee
Problems in Africa


20 June 1974

Article 5

Voluntary Repatriation

1. The essentially voluntary character of repatriation shall be respected in all cases
and no refugee shall be repatriated against his will.

2. The country of asylum, in collaboration with the country of origin, shall make
adequate arrangements for the safe return of refugees who request repatriation.

3. The country of origin, on receiving back refugees, shall facilitate their resettlement
and grant them the full rights and privileges of nationals of the country, and subject
them to the same obligations.

4. Refugees who voluntarily return to their country shall in no way be penalized for
having left it for any of the reasons giving rise to refugee situations. Whenever
necessary, an appeal shall be made through national information media and through
the Administrative Secretary-General of the OAU, inviting refugees to return home and
giving assurance that the new circumstances prevailing in their country of origin will
enable them to return without risk and to take up a normal and peaceful life without
fear of being disturbed or punished, and that the text of such appeal should be given to
refugees and clearly explained to them by their country of asylum.

5. Refugees who freely decide to return to their homeland, as a result of such
assurances or on their own initiative, shall be given every possible assistance by the
country of asylum, the country of origin, voluntary agencies and international and
intergovernmental organizations, to facilitate their return.

back to top

Article 6

Travel Documents

1. Subject to Article III, Member States shall issue to refugees lawfully staying in their
territories travel documents in accordance with the United Nations Convention relating
to the Status of Refugees and the Schedule and Annex thereto, for the purpose of
travel outside their territory, unless compelling reasons of national security or public
order otherwise require. Member States may issue such a travel document to any
other refugee in their territory.

2. Where an African country of second asylum accepts a refugee from a country of
first asylum, the country of first asylum may be dispensed from issuing a document
with a return clause.

3. Travel documents issued to refugees under previous international agreements by
States Parties thereto shall be recognized and treated by Member States in the same
way as if they had been issued to refugees pursuant to this Article.

back to top

Article 7

Co-operation of the National Authorities with the Organization of African Unity

In order to enable the Administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African
Unity to make reports to the competent organs of the Organization of African Unity,
Member States undertake to provide the Secretariat in the appropriate form with
information and statistical data requested concerning:

(a) the condition of refugees;

(b) the implementation of this Convention, and

(c) laws, regulations and decrees which are, or may hereafter be, in force relating to

Article 8

Cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

1. Member States shall co-operate with the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees.

2. The present Convention shall be the effective regional complement in Africa of the
1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees.

back to top

Article 9

Settlement of Disputes

Any dispute between States signatories to this Convention relating to its interpretation
or application, which cannot be settled by other means, shall be referred to the
Commission for Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration of the Organization of African
Unity, at the request of any one of the Parties to the dispute.

Article 10

Signature and Ratification

1. This Convention is open for signature and accession by all Member States of the
Organization of African Unity and shall be ratified by signatory States in accordance
with their respective constitutional processes. The instruments of ratification shall be
deposited with the Administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African

2. The original instrument, done if possible in African languages, and in English and
French, all texts being equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Administrative
Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity.

3. Any independent African State, Member of the Organization of African Unity, may at
any time notify the Administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African
Unity of its accession to this Convention.

back to top

Article 11

Entry into force

This Convention shall come into force upon deposit of instruments of ratification by
one-third of the Member States of the Organization of African Unity.

Article 12


This Convention may be amended or revised if any member State makes a written
request to the Administrative Secretary-General to that effect, provided however that
the proposed amendment shall not be submitted to the Assembly of Heads of State
and Government for consideration until all 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 the Member States Parties to the present

Article 13


1. Any Member State Party to this Convention may denounce its provisions by a
written notification to the Administrative Secretary-General.

2. At the end of one year from the date of such notification, if not withdrawn, the
Convention shall cease to apply with respect to the denouncing State.

back to top

Article 14

Upon entry into force of this Convention, the Administrative Secretary-General of the
OAU shall register it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in accordance
with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

Article 15

Notifications by the Administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African

The Administrative Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity shall inform
all Members of the Organization:

(a) of signatures, ratifications and accessions in accordance with Article X;

(b) of entry into force, in accordance with Article XI;

(c) of requests for amendments submitted under the terms of Article XII;

(d) of denunciations, in acccordance with Article XIII.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF WE, the Heads of African State and Government, have
signed this Convention.

DONE in the City of Addis Ababa this 10th day of September 1969.States Parties

As of 06 January 1995

Total Number of States Parties: 41

Most Recent Ratification: Kenya 23 June 1992

Countries Ratification/accession
Algeria 24 May 1974
Angola 30 Apr 1981
Benin 26 Feb 1973
Burkina Faso 19 Mar 1974
Burundi 31 Oct 1975
Cameroon 07 Sep 1975
Cape Verde 16 Feb 1989
Central African Republic 23 Jul 1970
Chad 12 Aug 1981
Congo 16 Jan 1971
Egypt 12 Jun 1980
Equatorial Guinea 08 Sep 1980
Ethiopia 15 Oct 1973
Gabon 21 Mar 1986
Gambia 12 Nov 1980
Ghana 19 Jun 1975
Guinea 18 Oct 1972
Guinea Bissau 27 Jun 1989
Kenya 23 Jun 1992
Lesotho 18 Nov 1983
Liberia 01 Oct 1971
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 25 Apr 1981
Malawi 04 Nov 1987
Mali 10 Oct 1981
Mauritania 22 Jul 1972
Mozambique 22 Feb 1989
Niger 16 Sep 1971
Nigeria 23 May 1986
Rwanda 19 Nov 1979
Senegal 01 Apr 1971
Seychelles 11 Sep 1980
Sierra Leone 28 Dec 1987
Sudan 24 Dec 1972
Swaziland 16 Jan 1989
Tanzania 10 Jan 1975
Togo 10 Apr 1970
Tunisia 17 Nov 1989
Uganda 24 Jul 1987
Zaire 14 Feb 1973
Zambia 30 Jul 1973
Zimbabwe 28 Sep 1985

back to top