Hosting more than one-third of the world’s forcibly displaced persons, African countries must double efforts against forced displacement and adopt the Global Compact on Refugees and Migration, the African Union (AU) said on Wednesday.
“Over one-third of the world’s forcibly displaced persons are in Africa, including 6.3 million refugees and asylum seekers and 14, 5 million IPDs, thus Africa has no option but to double its efforts to address these phenomena,” the AU stressed in a statement issued on Wednesday.
According to the AU, the adoption of Global Compact underscores the recent global shift to put the refugees, asylum seekers, Internally Displaced persons (IDPs) and migration at the central stage in policy discourse in Africa and beyond.
The AU made the urgent call during the ongoing AU high-level meeting on migration, refugees and IDPs, which is underway from Nov. 4 to 8 at the headquarters of the AU Commission in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The high-level continental meeting being held under the theme “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa,” is expected to consider and recommend several key policies and operational documents in the field of migration, refugees and IPDs, it was noted.
Khabele Matlosa, Director for Political Affairs Department at the AU, said during the meeting that the AU through its 50-year continental development Agenda 2063 “resonates well with the 2030 global agenda on sustainable development in bringing durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa and beyond.”
“Evidently, the 7 aspirations of Agenda 2063 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may not be fully realized if the African continent does not address the challenges posed by humanitarian crises and forced displacement,” Matlosa said.
The AU Commission director further urged African countries to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, and provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
Francois Regis Gatarayiha, Rwanda’s Director General of Immigration and Emigration, also echoed Matlosa’s call as emphasized the need to ratify the continental Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, which has been signed by 33 AU member countries so far, of which 4 have already deposited their ratification instruments with the AU Commission.
The four AU member countries that have already deposited their ratification instruments are Rwanda, Niger, Mali and Sao Tome and Principe.
Noting that the continental protocol requires 15 ratifications to enter into force, Gatarayiha also encouraged AU member states to swiftly ratify the protocol so as to enhance free movement and mobility in Africa.