Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Kampala Convention Enters Into Force Tomorrow

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A site for internally displaced persons in Kabo, Central African Republic. Photo courtesy of Pierre Holtz.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) welcomes the entry into force tomorrow of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention.

The Kampala Convention is the first international treaty for the protection and assistance of people displaced within their own countries across an entire continent. It imposes on states the obligation to protect and assist persons displaced by natural disasters and man-made actions such as armed conflict. The convention will enter into force on December 6, 30 days after the fifteenth African state, Swaziland, deposited its instruments of ratification with the African Union.

"As a legal document potentially binding all African countries – a quarter of world's States – the treaty represents a significant step forward in the protection and assistance of internally displaced people in Africa," said Bruce Mokaya Orina, head of the ICRC delegation to the African Union.

The ICRC works to protect the lives and dignity of people affected by armed conflict and other situations of violence. Many such people are internally displaced. The ICRC alone assisted over 2.2 million people displaced internally in Africa in 2010 and close to 4 million in 2011.

"The ICRC contributed to the drafting process and pushed for the convention's ratification and future implementation at national level by all the African Union member States," said Mr Orina. As the convention also covers situations where international humanitarian law – a set of rules which seek to limit the effects of armed conflict – is applicable, the ICRC stands ready to help states in their efforts to promote and implement it in their domestic legislation.

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