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Uganda meeting salutes growing support for Kampala Convention on internally displaced, urges more

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Uganda meeting salutes growing support for Kampala Convention on internally displaced, urges more

3 December 2019

Representatives of African countries gathered in the Ugandan capital this week to discuss the impact of the African Union’s Kampala Convention on Internally Displaced Persons over its first decade and encourage increased support for the treaty and its implementation.

The two-day continental consultative meeting (CCM) in Kampala was organized as part of a range of activities in 2019 to mark the 2009 Kampala Convention and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention and to promote the AU’s theme of the year on seeking solutions to forced displacement in Africa.

Coincidentally, it came just days after Somalia has announced to become  the third AU member state this year, after South Sudan and Equatorial Guinea, to adopt the Kampala Convention and the 30th of the 55 African states since 2009, when it became the first and only legally binding agreement of its kind.

Participants welcomed their example and encouraged others to follow suit. Participants from countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, Niger and South Sudan told of their own challenges in implementing the Kampala Convention, explaining what it means to run an effective response-and-support mechanism for people displaced within their own countries.

The meeting discussed a wide range of related topics, including the 2017 Harare Action Plan, which sets five priorities and activities to be adopted by the AU, member states, regional economic communities and partners to facilitate implementation of the Kampala Convention.

Host Uganda has learned from its own painful past about the suffering of the forcibly displaced and has developed progressive laws to support refugees and the internally displaced.In an opening speech, Rebecca Otenge, Uganda’s ambassador to the AU, alluded to these, while stressing the importance of youth: “I would like to say that to the young people of Africa; all is not lost. We have you as our strength. The best is you,” to drive development in their respective countries. 

In a joint opening session that coincided with a continental youth consultation on forced displacement, UNHCR Representative to the African Union and ECA Mr. Cosmas Chanda highlighted the important role of the youth in situations of forced displacement and UNHCR’s  continued engagement with the young population who are displaced including refugees. He mentioned the role of UNHCR’s global youth advisory board in amplifying youth refugee voices better. 

“We will continue to work tirelessly to continue to support the youth. They want to be consulted they want to be listed to. They want to contribute. To engage and to be part of solutions.”, said Mr. Chanda.

Topics discussed during the two days session included; Implementing the Kampala Convention through the development of law and Policy, Supporting data collection, analysis and dissemination on the Kampala Convention, Challenges and experiences of ratifying the convention as well as regional exchange in regional economic communities such as ECOWAS and IGAD.

The meeting is among the last continental series of meetings being held under the AU’s  theme for 2019, which has been designated “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement.”

UNHCR has been supporting the African Union in the execution of a number of activities related to the African Union theme of the year known as Project 19.

The Kampala Convention, adopted in 2009, came into force in December 2012 and has been signed by 40 member states of the AU, with 30 ratifications to date with Somalia being the latest to accede to in November 2019.


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