Monday, March 28, 2011

Government stress the need to find a durable solution to address the plight of IDPs

The Minister of Interior, NGOs Affairs and for Refugees in The Gambia, Hon. Ousman Sonko has admitted that the issue of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) has taken centre stage, and the need to find a durable solution is “government’s primary” responsibility.
Speaking at a one-day sensitisation workshop for Lawmakers and Relevant Stakeholders on the African Union (AU) Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs, held in Banjul, Sonko said the adoption of this regional instrument (Kampala Convention) has been widely welcome as a positive development for the protection of IDPs in Africa.

The workshop is aim at raising the awareness of Legislators and Senior Government officials on the Kampala Convention and is jointly organised by the Refugee Commission of The Gambia under the Interior Ministry, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).    
The event is meant to ensure that the National Assembly of The Gambia work towards the ratification of the Kampala Convention and subsequently domesticate it into the laws of the Gambia.
On Monday March 21, he said the process will also involve all relevant national institutions. It is also aimed at ensuring that National Assembly Members (NAMs) commit to adopt all the legislative measures, including the “amendments to the national legislation” required for the effective implementation of the Convention, he said.
African countries experience economic losses due to natural disasters such as floods, storms, landslides, wildfires and drought, however, he stressed that when such natural disasters occur, governments must react to protect as well as come to the aid of the victims.
He said the event could not have come at better times as legislators will be able to have firsthand knowledge on all the issues, roles and responsibilities of African governments that have signed the Convention.
He explained that it was during the Ministerial Conference held in Ouagadougou in June 2006 that ministers came up with a set of recommendations and a declaration, drawn from the theme “protecting and assisting victims of forced displacement in Africa” in accordance with the 1965 OAU Convention governing the aspect of refugee problems in Africa. Source - The Voice

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