The Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility (1990)


Intellectual freedom in Africa is currently threatened to an unprecedented degree. The historically produced and persistent economic, political and social crisis of our continent continues to undermine development in all spheres. The imposition of unpopular structural adjustment programmes has been accompanied by increased political repression, widespread poverty and intense human suffering.

African people are responding to these intolerable conditions by intensifying their struggles for democracy and human rights. The struggle for intellectual freedom is an integral part of the struggle of our people for human rights. Just as the struggle of the African people for democracy is being generalised, so too is the struggle of African intellectuals for intellectual freedom intensifying.

AWARE that the African States are parties to international and regional human rights instruments including the African Charter on Human and People's Rights and CONVINCED that we, the participants in the Symposium on 'Academic Freedom and Social Responsibility of Intellectuals' and members of the African intellectual community, have an obligation both to fight for our rights as well as contribute to the rights struggle of our people, we met in Kampala, Uganda, to set norms and standards to guide the exercise of intellectual freedom and remind ourselves of our social responsibility as intellectuals.

We have thus adopted the Kampala Declaration on Intellectual Freedom and Social Responsibility on this 29th day of November, 1990.

May the Declaration be a standard-bearer for the African intellectual community to assert its autonomy and undertake its responsibility to the people of our continent.



Section A: Intellectual Rights and Freedoms

Article I

Every person has the right to education and participation in intellectual activity.

Article 2

Every African intellectual shall be entitled to the respect of all his or her civil political, social, economic and cultural rights as stipulated in the International Bill of Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.

Article 3

No African intellectual shall in any way be persecuted, harassed or intimidate for reasons only of his or her intellectual work. opinions gender, nationality ethnicity.

Article 4

Every African intellectual shall enjoy the freedom of movement within his o her country and freedom to travel outside and re-enter the country without let hindrance or harassment. No administrative or any other action shall directly or indirectly restrict this freedom on account of a person's intellectual opinions beliefs or activity.

Article 5

Every African intellectual and intellectual community has the right to initiate and develop contacts or establish relations with other intellectuals an intellectual communities provided they are based on equality and mutual respect.

Article 6

Every African intellectual has the right to pursue intellectual activity, including teaching, research and dissemination of research results, without let or hindrance subject only to universally recognised principles of scientific enquiry and ethical and professional standards.

Article 7

Teaching and researching members of staff and students of institutions of education have the right, directly and through their elected representatives, to initiate, participate in and determine academic programmes of their institutions in accordance with the highest standards of education.

Article 8

Teaching and researching members of the intellectual community shall have security of tenure. They shall not be dismissed or removed from employment except for reasons of gross misconduct, proven incompetence or negligence incompatible with the academic profession. Disciplinary proceedings for dismissal or removal on grounds stated in this article shall be in accordance with laid down procedures providing for a fair hearing before a democratically elected body of the intellectual community.

Article 9

The intellectual community shall have the right to express its opinionS freely in the media and to establish its own media and means of communication.

Section B: Right to form Autonomous Organisations

Article 10

All members of the intellectual community shall have the freedom of association, including the right to form and join trade unions. The right of association includes the right of peaceful assembly and the formation of groups, clubs and national and intemational associations.

Section C: Autonomy of Institutions

Article 11

Institutions of higher education shall be autonomous of the State or any other public authority in conducting their affairs, including the administration, and setting up their academic, teaching research and other related programmes.

Article 12

The autonomy of institutions of higher education shall be exercised by democratic means of self-government, involving active participation of all members of the respective academic community.



Article 13

The State is obliged to take prompt and appropriate measures in respect of any infringement by State officials of the rights and freedoms of the intellectual community brought to its attention.

Article 14

The State shall not deploy any military, paramilitary, security, intelligence, or any like forces within the premises and grounds of institutions of education.

Provided that such deployment is necessary in the interest of protecting life and property in which case the following conditions shall be satisfied:

(a) There is clear, present and imminent danger to life and property; and

(b) The head of the institution concerned has extended a written invitation to that effect; and

(c) Such invitation has been approved by an elected standing committee of the academic community set up in that behalf.

Article 15

The State shall desist from exercising censorship over the works of the intellectual community.

Article 16

The State is obliged to ensure that no official or any other organ under its control produces or puts into circulation disinformation or rumours calculated to intimidate, bring into disrepute or in any way interfere with the legitimate pursuits of the intellectual community.

Article 17

The State shall continuously ensure adequate funding for research institutions and institutions of higher education. Such funding shall be determined in consultation with an elected body of the institution concerned.

Article 18

The State desist from preventing or imposing conditions on the movement or employment of African intellectuals from other countries within its own country.



Article 19

Members of the intellectual community are obliged to discharge their roles and functions with competence, integrity and to the best of their abilities. They should perform their duties in accordance with ethical and highest scientific standards.

Article 20

Members of the intellectual community have a responsibility to promote the spirit of tolerance towards different views and positions and enhance democratic debate and discussion.

Article 21

No one group of the intellectual community shall indulge in the harassment, domination or oppressive behaviour towards another group. All differences among the intellectual community shall be approached and resolved in the spirit of equality, non-discrimination and democracy.

Article 22

The intellectual community has the responsibility to struggle for and participate in the struggle of the popular forces for their rights and emancipation.

Article 23

No member of the intellectual community shall participate in or be a party to any endeavour which may work to the detriment of the people or the intellectual community or compromise scientific, ethical and professional principles and standards.

Article 24

The intellectual community is obliged to show solidarity and give sanctuary to any member who is persecuted for his or her intellectual activity.

Article 25

The intellectual community is obliged to encourage and contribute to affirmative actions to redress historical and contemporary inequalities based on gender, nationality or any other social disadvantage.



Article 26

Members of the intellectual community may further elaborate and concretise the norms and standards set herein at regional and pan-African level.

Article 27

It is incumbent on the African intellectual community to form its own organisations to monitor and publicise violations of the rights and freedoms stipulated herein.






* The symposium condemned violations of the autonomy of academic institutions through closures, invasion by security, police or military forces, censorship of intellectual work, restrictions on freedom of association, movement, speech and publishing.

* The symposium demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all intellectuals and their families illegally or extra-judicially detained or imprisoned, the return of those exiled, and an end to all harassment, intimidation and persecution of intellectuals, on the basis of their work.

* The symposium called upon all States to adequately resource academic and intellectual endeavours because without this there can be no academic freedom.


* The symposium called for the creation of a Pan African Organisation to monitor, document and disseminate information on abuses of academic and intellectual freedom and repression, harassment, intimidation and detention of intellectuals.

* The symposium called for the strengthening and democralisation of existing networks and associations of the African intellectual community through the increased representation of marginalised groups such as women, young and unestablished scholars.

* The symposium called for the transformation of administrative structures, procedures and practices in academic institutions to make these more representative of and accountable to teachers, researchers, students and others working within them.

* The symposium called for the promotion of participatory and democratic methods of teaching, research and publishing, and high professional and ethical standards.

* The symposium called upon African academic institutions to promote intellectual exchanges among African scholars, provide sanctuary to exiled scholars, and to offer all African academics equal terms of service, remuneration and treatment regardless of nationality.

* The symposium called upon African intellectuals to develop solidarity and supportive networks to defend the collective interests of the intellectual community.

Home || Treaties || Search || Links