The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Saturday hailed Ethiopia’s ratification of the Kampala Convention on refugees.

The Ethiopian parliament on Thursday ratified the African Union (AU) Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Africa, known as the Kampala Convention.

The convention, a key regional legal instrument aimed at protecting, assisting and resolving the plight of IDPs, was unanimously passed by Ethiopian lawmakers.

In a press statement, the UNHCR said the ratification of Kampala Convention represents a significant achievement for Ethiopia which currently is dealing with massive internal displacement.

“The ratification of this Convention underscores the Ethiopian government’s concern and attention to the large number of people who are displaced, whether as a result of conflict or changing climatic conditions,” the statement said.

“UNHCR welcomes the opportunity to support the Government in implementing the tenets of the Convention and honoring its commitments, including through the development of a national action plan for IDPs,” said Ann Encontre, the UNHCR representative in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the 31st AU member to ratify the convention since its adoption in 2009. It will now take effect domestically after the country’s president signs it into law in a few weeks.

The Kampala Convention is the world’s first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of IDPs, who often face heightened risks of sexual and other violence during their displacement, while they struggle to access their basic rights.

Ethiopia has one of the world’s largest IDP populations, estimated at 1.78 million, according to the 2020 UN Humanitarian Response Plan.

The UNHCR has been helping Ethiopia to assist those displaced by conflict and climate shocks and has been encouraging the government to ratify the convention. Enditem

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