Kenya: IGAD and ICRC hold seminar on the Kampala Convention

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organized a joint seminar to discuss the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Convention on the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa. The seminar, which was held on 4-5 October in Nairobi, brought together IGAD member states, the African Union Commission and select UN Agencies.

The seminar was jointly opened by the IGAD Regional Migration Coordinator, Caroline Njuki, and the ICRC Head of Regional Delegation in Nairobi, Thierry Meyrat, who spoke on the importance of dealing with the issue of IDPs in the region. In their remarks it was noted that the Horn of Africa has the highest number of IDPs in Africa, due to multifaceted and complex causes such as sporadic and protracted conflicts and disasters.

The objective of the seminar was to demonstrate the importance of instruments like the Kampala Convention and how they contribute in meeting the protection and assistance needs of IDPs. The seminar provided a platform to encourage implementation by IGAD member States and discuss tools and support systems available to help them achieve this goal. The seminar also provided an opportunity to the ICRC to discuss its Stocktaking exercise on the Kampala Convention, which was designed to support the efforts of the African Union and State Parties to the Kampala Convention to fulfil their responsibilities for the monitoring and effective implementation of the Convention.

"This seminar sought to demonstrate how the Kampala Convention, as a legal instrument, protects the rights of IDPs and addresses the root causes of displacement," said Caroline Njuki.

A copy of the Kampala Convention that was distributed during the seminar. CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mike Mina

The seminar also served as a stocktaking exercise and a regional reflection on measures taken to address the needs of IDPs. It was a platform to share good practices and lessons learned, as well as an avenue to identify key challenges in States' efforts to implement more effectively their obligations under the Kampala Convention.

On its part, the ICRC has been engaged in promoting the Kampala Convention since its drafting, and in providing resources to States to support their efforts towards implementation. During the seminar ICRC experts discussed the key legal obligations under the Kampala Convention requiring implementation, in particular focusing on the linkages between the obligations under the Kampala Convention and the already-existing obligations member States have under international humanitarian law. The preliminary findings of the ICRC stocktaking exercise were also shared with participants during the seminar, including a number of good practice examples drawn from East African States.

"The ICRC is ready to support States in the ratification and domestication of the Kampala Convention," said Thierry Meyrat.

During the seminar, member States were encouraged to identify steps that will facilitate the ratification and domestication of the Kampala Convention. The following recommendations were given by the member States:

  • Member States dealing with IDPs require further support to build the capacity of their officials at both national and local levels.
  • The IGAD and AU should work to increase the amount of advocacy and information sharing they do around the Kampala Convention in order to better sensitise key stakeholders on the key issues.
  • Decision-making organs of IGAD need to be conducting advocacy work on the Kampala Convention.
  • There is a need to strengthen the coordination between governments and humanitarian organizations for effective protection and assistance of IDPs.

The ICRC will launch the final report from its stocktaking exercise on the Kampala Convention in Addis Ababa on 19 October 2016.

 Read more about the Kampala Convention.