(Originally Broadcast on March 22, 2011)
In October 2009 the African Union adopted the Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Called the Kampala Convention, it will be the first legally binding regional instrument to establish obligations on the part of states and non-state actors to protect and assist IDPs.
The Convention articulates obligations of the states parties in terms of preventing the conditions contributing to arbitrary displacement, protection and assistance during displacement, and durable solutions to end displacement. The Convention also addresses the role of the AU, international organizations, humanitarian agencies and armed groups in preventing and responding to internal displacement.
Given the significant rate and scope of internal displacement around the world, and particularly in Africa, the Convention provides a unique framework through which to discuss a number of contemporary questions, including:
-How does the Convention relate to existing humanitarian and human rights provisions? To the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement? To domestic laws and policies?
-What are the aims of the Convention, and how are they operationalized? How did the drafters approach the issues of implementation and enforcement?
-What is the appropriate role of the international community, humanitarian agencies, and civil society in responding to internal displacement?
-What is the role of armed groups under the Convention? What does this mean for their legal accountability?
-How might this Convention serve as a model for other regional responses to internal displacement?
Dr. Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs
Dr. Katinka Ridderbos, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
Mr. Allehone Mulugeta Abebe, University of Bern, Switzerland
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