The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, on Friday welcomed Somalia’s official deposit of the instruments of ratification of the African Union Convention for the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the AU Commission in Ethiopia.
Johann Siffointe, UNHCR Somalia representative, said the latest move shows progress made by the government to find durable solutions for displaced citizens in the country.
“IDPs are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Somalia. They face significant inequality leading to exclusion and lost opportunities. Poverty and rates of unemployment among IDPs are among the highest in the country,” he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
According to the UNHCR, there are 2.6 million Somali women, girls, boys and men internally displaced from armed conflict and natural disasters. “Today’s action is another signal of the strong commitment of the government of Somalia to work towards the establishment of a conducive protection environment for the fourth largest IDP population in the world,” said the UN agency. The Convention, known as the Kampala Convention, was signed on Nov. 26 last year by Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo after being passed with a near-unanimous vote by parliament. The Horn of Africa nation is the 30th African Union Member State to ratify the convention since 2009. “This deposit of the instruments of ratification shows even more progress by the Somali government to realize pledges made in December’s Global Refugee Forum focused on finding durable solutions for displaced citizens in the country,” Siffointe said.
UNHCR expressed its readiness to support the government of Somalia in the implementation of the Kampala Convention, including incorporating their obligations under this treaty into domestic law by enacting or amending relevant legislation on the protection of, and assistance to, IDPs in line with international law obligations.The Kampala Convention, which was adopted in 2009 by Africa’s 55 states, is the world’s first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of IDPs, who often face heightened risks, violations and sexual violence because of their displacement, while they struggle to access their rights and basic protection.