Africa’s internally displaced persons and the Kampala Convention
June 22, 2010
Africa Synod Proposition 15: Security in society
"The Synod calls upon all members of the Church in Africa to promote justice for everyone and respect for human rights through civiceducation and by building up a culture of justice and peace. To accomplish this, dioceses and parishes should establish Commissions for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with local community leaders, who may act as intermediaries.
"The current mobilization of African countries for the reduction of poverty and the pursuit of lasting peace open great hopes. That is why the Synod recommends, for the sake of justice, the common good and the welfare of peoples. The Synod appeals to governments to offer security in society and the basic needs of life to the most vulnerable from a just distribution of the fruits of development.
"This Synod reminds our African governments of this fact and appeals to them for security of life and property. Life is sacred and must be protected and secured. Governments should put in place a machinery to stop killings, kidnapping, etc., on the continent. Insecurity of life and property and a lack of good order increases migration and the brain drain and, this, in turn, adds to poverty."
The following article is reprinted from Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) and is found here.
African Union members have adopted plans to implement the Kampala convention on the protection of internally displaced people (IDPs), including increasing their contributions to refugee and IDP funding and accelerating the convention’s ratification, signature and domestication. Signed by 26 countries since it was endorsed in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on October 23, 2009, the convention obliges governments to recognize that IDPs have specific vulnerabilities and must be supported.
The convention is aimed at progressively eliminating forced population displacement caused by conflicts and reducing the suffering of those displaced by natural disasters in Africa. AU ministers responsible for forced displacement, who met in Addis Ababa on June 4-5, agreed to seek support for implementation from non-traditional and private sector partners and to accelerate the convention’s ratification at an AU summit in Kampala in July. Domestication includes voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement, and strategies for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, as well as post-conflict reconstruction and peace building.
More than 10 million sub-Saharan Africans are affected by forced displacement, according to the AU. These include 2.1 million refugees, 305,000 asylum-seekers, at least 6.3 million IDPs and about 100,000 stateless persons. Africa is also home to three of the world’s five countries with the largest conflict-induced IDPs, namely Sudan (about 4.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (one million) and Somalia (1.5 million), data from the Brookings-Bern Project shows. The Kampala convention, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is the custodian of international humanitarian law, provides a solid framework for enhancing the protection and assistance of IDPs in Africa. To become a binding document, it has to be ratified by 15 of the AU’s 53 members. So far, one has done so.Photograph by Ron Haviv from Darfur/Darfur: Life/War, published by Melcher Media, November 2007.