Millions of families across the continent are displaced due to armed conflict and violence. Many spent years waiting to return to their homes safely.

African states
are meeting in Harare to consider how to improve implementation of the ground-breaking ‘Kampala Convention’ to protect internally displaced persons.

Conflicts, natural disasters and climate change displacing four million across the continent. It’s the highest number in the world.

UNHCR representative Cosmas Chanda says, “Today the number of people displaced as a result of conflict and natural disaster is over 60 million, 48 million of those are as a result of conflict.”

“According to an IDM 2015 report, conflict displaced more than 2.4 million people in 14 African countries during 2015 making the continent second to the middle-east for violence.”

Eight years after the adoption of the Kampala Convention, the Red Cross is calling on African states to action the agreement.

The conference is expected to adopt a five year plan and make recommendations on monitoring and compliance.

Chairperson of the AU PRC Sub-Committee on Refugees Lamine Baali says, “It is necessary to reflect on the stalled pace of ratification, domestication and implementation of the convention in the last three to four years.”

“Have we lost the momentum, have we become complacent. At least the 25 AU member states parties to the convention have taken the vital step to implement the convention.”

Only 25 of the 55 AU member states have signed and ratified the Kampala convention and South Africa is among the non-signatories.

– By Ndundu Sithole