The African Union Executive Council has adopted a declaration that aims to create an enabling environment for refugees and internally displaced persons to become self reliant through socio-economic integration to enable them contribute to the local economy upon return to their respective countries.
The council that has been meeting in Kampala, unanimously adopted the 27-action point declaration tuesday and will table it before the Heads of State Summit where it will require 15 members to ratify it for it to become effective.
During the conference, the council recognized that some refugees and internally displaced persons are people with skills, experiences and expertise and are willing and able to contribute to Africa’s development.
The council commended the efforts by the United Nations and its agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and other international charity organisation.
It called for the protection of the vulnerable groups; women, children and the elderly during conflicts.
Speaking at the closure of the council, the deputy chairperson of AU Executive Council, Zainabu Hawa Bangura, said “Africa deserves a life of dignity and respect.
“Let us send hope to those in the camps that we have not deserted them. Being a refugee is not only dehumanizing, but extremely humiliating” Bangura who is also the Sierra Leonean Foreign Affairs Minister said.
The Director of Political Affairs in the African Union Commission, Ambassador Emile Ognimba, revealed that the African Court of Justice would be empowered with criminal jurisdiction to try cases of impunity that have hitherto been referred to the International Criminal Court.”
The Executive Council of the African Union (AU) has demanded that all countries that have not yet signed and ratified the African Charter on democracy, elections and governance, to do it urgently.