Highlights of the Continental Workshop On Building Solutions To Internal Displacement In Africa, 7th and 8th June 2021

On the 7 and 8th of June 2021, GENIDA in partnership with Kabarak Law School with support from GCRF held a continental workshop in Kenya with the aim of building solutions to Internal Displacement in Africa.  The workshop featured presentations from various experts and researchers on internal displacement in Africa as shown below. Click here to watch highlights from the delegates on YouTube

Dr. Aderomola Adeola, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. South Africa – Internal Displacement Research and policy gaps.

There is similarity in the root causes of Internal Displacement and refugees whereas the two are treated and handled differently.

International and regional frameworks on IDPs include; UDHR, ICCPR, ICESCR,CEDAW, CRC CRPD Convention against Torture, Convention Protecting Persons against Enforced Disappearance, Convention On the Prevention Of Genocide, the UN Guiding Principles On Internal Displacements, The AU Convention on IDPs, The African Charter, The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, The Maputo Protocol, The African Court, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum seekers and displaced persons and the Great Lakes Protocol and Ministerial Conference on Internal Displacement in East Africa which all assert that IDPs must be protected and cared for by respective states.

Sake Mathieu, Founder, Policy & Programming Officer, ACPDH, Burundi – Reflecting on IDPs as areas in research and policy development in Africa. Where research stands and how to enhance it and build a bit more momentum?

Africa has been described as a continent on the move with migratory configurations inside and outside the continent but the most visible being labor migration, refugee flows and internal displacement. (Approximately 31 million Africans leave outside their country of birth)

Rapid growth of the labor force coupled with sluggish growth of employment opportunities has contributed to youth migration. Poverty, poor governance, recurrent internal instability, mismanaged economies and conflicts have created a class of immigrants called internal immigrants.

Jimmy Kainja, University of Malawi, Malawi- Communicate Internal Displacement matters.

The communication industry does not exist in a vacuum but a socio-economic context. Communication is determined by complex intersection of the interests of certain groups in society. Understanding the socio-economic context is key in understanding how communication works. Understanding the different issues affecting communication plays a key role in the design of advocacy approaches that are practical and realistic.

Communication systems must be understood in terms of reality and the predominant reality of Africans is poverty. The media have the power to frame important issues in society – how these issues are communicated go a long way in shaping public attitudes.

Richard Obedi, Populace Foundation International, UgandaAdvocating for the rights of the displaced: research and policy gaps

IDPs are rarely included in development and poverty eradication policies or projects, lack of political will and reluctance by governments to provide protection to IDPs. Out of the 55 countries, only one country has ratified the Migration Policy Framework. To make matters worse, COVID-19 has dealt a serious blow on the IDPs most especially since there on East African countries, including political, social, economic and spiritual.  People migrate for many reasons, and although it may not be possible to eliminate each undesirable factor, but we must look to reduce the suffering.

Ms. Asmau Gangso Bensies, Executive Director of the Centre for Non-Violence and Gender Advocacy, Nigeria – Gender and Internal Displacement.”

Gender inequality is mostly exacerbated when women are left behind or forced to flee their homes. This causes women and girls exposure to adversity and risks to be heightened, such as gender-based violence.  Women are among the most vulnerable as they face a number of challenges. These challenges include extreme poverty, lack of access to basic infrastructure and services, and the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods and overall well-being. Further data needs to be collected on IDPs with a gender-focused analysis. This will allow the short and long-term impacts of displacement on women and girls to be distinguished.

Dr. Jane Wathuta, Institute for Family Studies and Ethics, Strathmore University, Kenya – Bridging Social Divides, Strengthening Families and Community Ties in Internal Displacement.”

All families including IDP families are entitled to protection and a family in itself is a source of protection because it offers stability in terms of physical, social, legal, material and emotional support. However, family separation in the context of internal displacement can be deliberate, accidental or as a result of well-meaning but ill-conceived.

Dr Tata Emmanuel Sunjo, University of Buea, Cameroon – Politics/governance and internal displacement.

Global and regional frameworks are essential in putting pressure on governments to effectively address ID by creating national frameworks. Countries’ commitment to global and regional frameworks is essential in determining the quality of governance of ID. Africa’s disproportionate burden of ID is not only anchored on mere drivers of such conflicts but also on the overall governance mechanisms. The persistence of IDPs in a given region is equally determined by the governance quality.

Many of the countries with the highest displacements score lowest when it comes to respecting the rule of law.

Dr. Robson Mandishekwa’s, Midlands State University, ZimbabweEconomics and Internal displacement

There is a lot of research that has been written on internal displacement which has brought about a number of models such as the IRRM model by Cernea. Models propound that people migrate from rural areas to urban areas where wages are better. Internal displacement is an economics phenomenon which deserves an understanding from economics perspectives. Changes in economic activities has significant effects on lives of IDPs. There is scarcity of research on the consequences of internal displacement from an economics perspective. There is need for a study on the linkage between the economic consequences, the economic activities and satisfaction with life. Studies on the application of environmental concepts; Humanitarian-development-peace nexus are also needed.

Dr. Eniola Cadmus, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Health and internal displacement  “Setting the Agenda for Health and Internal Displacement Research in Africa.”

Over 55 million people were living in internal displacement as of the end of 2020.

Internal displacement puts the IDPs in a disadvantaged position and leaves them vulnerable to abuse and violation. Similarly, it creates barriers to access health services, worsens pre-existing marginalization and exclusion, making them susceptible to ill health, disability, injury and excludes them from rehabilitation and livelihood projects.

Ms. Nicoline Nwenushi Wazeh, PAWED-Cameroon – Development Approaches to Internal Displacement. 

Resilience-based development should be at the front and centre of IDP and host community support and solutions. This is in recognition that host communities are the first to absorb the shock of any major influx of displaced persons, often demonstrating extraordinary generosity. Increasingly, displaced persons are residing outside of camps, without access to humanitarian support and most of them are relying on the informal economy.

Barr. Rashid Dumbuya, University of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone – Developing a national action plan: Lessons from Sierra Leone

Internal Displacement consist of three phases i.e., Pre-Displacement, During Displacement and Post-Displacement. Sierra Leone lacks specific legal framework protecting IDPs, but protection is provided under general instruments like 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, The Disaster Management Act 2020, The ONS Act.

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