UNHCR calls for robust implementation of the "historic and ground breaking" Kampala Convention

On the occasion of the first Conference of State Parties to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons

 

UNHCR welcomes the convening of the first session of the Conference of State Parties to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons that took place from 3-5 April  in  Harare, Zimbabwe. The Kampala Convention was first adopted in October 2009 at a meeting of the African Union, and 25 of the AU’s 54 member states have since ratified it. It came into force on 6 December 2012.

Mr. Cosmas Chanda, UNHCR Representative to the AU and UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia addressed the meeting stating: “The international community applauded and recognized the unique and innovative contributions of the Kampala Convention…..we now need to focus and invest on the effective implementation of this treaty.”

The Kampala Convention covers displacement from causes that include conflict, natural disasters, climate change and projects. It affirms that States have primary responsibility for their own internally displaced citizens, but also calls for national and regional actions to prevent internal displacement, to ensure that such people are protected and helped and operationalize  solution strategies.

Countries that have ratified the Convention are required to implement it by turning its provisions into national laws.  According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, more than 12 million people were living in forced displacement across Africa as of the end of 2015.  UNHCR believes that urgent response is required to meet the needs of IDPs and find solutions for their plight.

UNHCR, which played a role in the drafting of the Convention, renews it commitment to support governments in taking measures in domesticating the provisions of the Convention through capacity building, technical assistance and predictable operational engagement at the country level.

UNHCR calls upon States that have not signed and ratified the Convention to do so and those that signed and ratified the instrument to take extra steps in putting in place national mechanism and policies for its implementation.

The Conference of State Parties, which was opened by the Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr Emerson D. Mnangagwa, adopted a plan of action for implementation of the Convention.