The African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons: Its Codification Background, Scope, and Enforcement Challenges

Mulugeta Abebe, Allehone
September 2010
Refugee Survey Quarterly;Sep2010, Vol. 29 Issue 3, p28
Academic Journal
The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa is the first ever binding legal instrument dealing with internal displacement. It is universally praised and recognized as an essential step in filling existing legal gaps with respect to the protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons. It covers all causes and stages of internal displacement. Decades of coordinated effort in sharpening the normative and institutional responses to internal displacement at the international and regional levels created favourable conditions for the realisation of this key codification process. The Convention’s codification history reveals an attempt by the African Union and its Member States to complement the provisions of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and cast them in the African context. It also uncovers a synergy between international actors, namely, the Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, international organizations, and the African Union to address the legal challenge of internal displacement. Ensuring the Convention’s widest ratification and promoting capacity-building and coordination at the domestic and regional levels emerge as key priorities for the effective realisation of the Convention’s objectives.


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