Kenya: Protection and assistance for internally displaced persons

Seminar on the Kampala Convention, jointly organized by IGAD and the ICRC in Nairobi

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) held its second Seminar on the Kampala Convention, focusing on the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa. The seminar, which was held on 10-11 October 2017 in Nairobi, was a follow up of the seminar IGAD and ICRC held on the Kampala Convention in October 2016.

The meeting was attended by senior officials responsible for humanitarian matters, and the concerns of IDPs, from IGAD member states (and Tanzania as an observer). The African Union, UNOCHA, UNHCR and the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat were also represented and the meeting was treated to a video address from the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Ms Jimenez-Damary.

In welcoming participants, the Senior Programme Coordinator Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration at IGAD, Ms. Caroline Njuki, noted the renewed focus in the region on tackling displacement and called for honest conversations in the search for solutions. The Head of the ICRC Nairobi Regional Delegation, Mr. Thierry Meyrat, highlighted the holistic operational view of the ICRC in its work in support of the needs of IDPs and the long-standing involvement of the ICRC in the promotion of the Kampala Convention.

Following the delivery by participants of state reports, on the current status as regards the protection of IDPs, Renny Mike Wafula, representing the African Union, presented on the Harare Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Kampala Convention, which came about during the First Conference of States Parties to the Kampala Convention in April 2017.

Dr Angela Cotroneo, ICRC's Adviser on Internal Displacement, introduced the group to the ICRC study which takes stock of progress on implementing the Kampala Convention. The report is being used by ICRC delegations in Africa in discussions with the authorities on states' obligations to protect and assist IDPs, and to support the adoption of national legal frameworks and policies.

The seminar concluded with a panel event whereby supporting organisations (UNOCHA, ICRC, UNHCR and IGAD) were able to showcase the assistance they were able to offer to states who sought support. "A number of states in the region have taken significant steps to implement measures for the protection of IDPs. The opportunity presented by this seminar, for an open exchange on the challenges and the possible way forward was very fruitful, and means that states in the region have been challenged and inspired through this peer-peer exchange to go that extra step and ratify the Kampala Convention," said Dr. Eve Massingham, ICRC's Regional Legal Adviser in East Africa.