Zimbabwe: ICRC calls on African states to honour their commitments to protect IDPs

03 April 2017

Harare (ICRC) - African states are meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe from 3 to 5 April to consider how to improve implementation of the groundbreaking regional agreement to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs), the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs, also known as the Kampala Convention.

Millions of individuals and families across the continent are displaced due to armed conflict and violence. Many of these IDPs spend years waiting to be able to return to their homes in safety. For others, the chronic nature of armed conflict and violence simply does not make it possible for them to return home. Eight years after the adoption of this agreement, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is calling on African states to transform this commitment into tangible, long term policies and action that protects and assists IDPs.

"More needs to be done by African states to address the root causes of displacement and to improve their capacity to anticipate and respond to the humanitarian needs that arise when people have to leave their homes due to armed conflict and violence," said Diane Misenga Kabeya, Deputy Head of the ICRC Delegation to the African Union. "Above all, ensuring respect for the laws of war is central to preventing displacement during armed conflict."

Utilizing its field presence in 29 countries across Africa, the ICRC undertook a study to evaluate progress on the implementation of the Kampala Convention. "The study's purpose is to support the African Union, its member states and their partners to identify relevant steps to move forward on translating the Kampala Convention into real improvements for IDPs on the continent," said Angela Cotroneo, an ICRC advisor on IDPs. "It provides clear, actionable recommendations, including recognition of existing positive initiatives developed by a number of States, that we hope will inspire other countries to follow in their footsteps."

The report contains 80 findings and 25 recommendations aimed at ensuring that the obligations toward IDPs are known and implemented, and their rights respected. The best practices and key challenges identified in the report are based on independent research as well as consultations with the African Union and its Regional Economic Communities carried out by the ICRC.

For further information, please contact
Tendayi Sengwe, ICRC Harare, +263 772240960
Yohamin Teshome, ICRC Delegation to the African Union, +251 911480922

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