KAMPALA - African countries have adopted and signed the first ever convention on the protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) during the AU Special Summit on Refugees, Returnees and IDP’s in Africa that concluded over the weekend in Kampala, Uganda.
The African Union Convention was signed by five AU Heads of State, five Vice Presidents and Prime Ministers as well as by Foreign Affairs Ministers and other Heads of Delegations who attended the historic event. In total, 17 countries signed the convention.
Prime Minister Bernard Makuza signed for Rwanda.
The convention will be a legal framework to promote and strengthen regional and national measures to prevent or mitigate, prohibit and eliminate root causes of internal displacement, as well as provide durable solutions.
Speaking at the signing, President Yoweri Museveni, urged the remaining member states to sign the convention and called on those who have already signed, to ratify it.
Museveni expressed his appreciation to the summit for coming up with solutions to forced displacement which presents several challenges to development and social transformation of Africa.
The convention will provide for the obligations and responsibilities of State parties with respect to the prevention of internal displacement and protection of, and assistance to internally displaced persons.
The convention shall be open to signature, ratification or accession by Member States of the AU in accordance with their respective constitutional procedures.
It shall enter into force thirty days after the deposit of the instruments of ratification or accession by fifteen Member States.
The summit also adopted the Kampala Solemn Declaration for a stronger commitment towards addressing the challenge of mass displacement.