African migrants travel on foot from the coast of Shabwa province (500 km), beside a road in the eastern province of Marib, Yemen. Credit: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
African migrants travel on foot from the coast of Shabwa province (500 km), beside a road in the eastern province of Marib, Yemen. Credit: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB

The Norwegian Refugee Council is calling on countries of the African Union to fully enact the Kampala Convention to provide protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, following the African Union summit.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is appealing to African leaders to fully enact the Kampala Convention, an African Union (AU) treaty that promises protection and assistance to people who are internally displaced due to armed conflicts or natural disasters.

The appeal was launched on the occasion of the 32nd AU summit, which was held February 10 and 11. African leaders gathered in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to discuss "Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards achieving durable solutions for forced displacement in Africa." 

22 million refugees and displaced in Africa 

The NRC said the intensity of several armed conflicts across the African continent has increased over the past decade and has brought with it a concerning trend of systematic targeting of civilians by belligerent parties.

Africa is now home to more than 22 million refugees and displaced people. "It is commendable that the AU is putting the displacement crises on top of their agenda for 2019. Some African countries are doing a tremendous job in providing safety for neighbours fleeing wars and persecution. We applaud these actions, and encourage other countries to follow their example," said NRC's representative to the AU, Yemisrach Kebede. "Currently, many displaced people are left without necessary protection and support, both in their home country and in the countries where they seek protection as refugees. Stronger efforts are also needed towards finding durable solutions for people who have been displaced for years," said Kebede.

'Ensure protection for displaced'

With the Kampala Convention, African governments were the first to put in place a regional, legally binding instrument that also provides for the protection of rights and provision of assistance to internally displaced people. It obliges African governments to protect the rights of people who are forced to flee their homes due to armed conflict, development induced displacement, generalised violence, human rights violations and natural or human-made disasters. "African governments that have ratified the Kampala convention, should now ensure its full implementation. In addition, we call for countries that have not yet signed up to this groundbreaking treaty, to do so," Kebede said.


 

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