From Voluntary Principles to Binding Precedent: The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa comes into Force

Ekpa Shedrack Esq


Large-scale displacement of people has become a defining characteristic of Africa. Unlike refugees, the legal framework for protection of internally displaced persons in Africa like many parts of the world have just evolved.  The idea to protect this category of persons within the region have not attracted the much attention that it deserves despite the truism that in Africa internally displaced persons outnumber refugees. The burden of offering protection to internally displaced persons have been left within the shoulders of national government on the ground that they remains within the borders of their own states  who in rare if not in all cases have no municipal law to cater for their welfare. Worse still, in the case of Africa, no specialized institution exists to cater for this class of her citizens as intervention in most cases are Ad- hoc in nature coupled with the attendant highly fragmented response. This paper assesses the emerging/evolving trend of legal protection for internally displaced persons in Africa especially with the coming into force of the regional framework- Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa which imposes expanded obligations on states beyond the traditional horizon.  The paper apart from tracing briefly the antecedents of the Kampala convention also delved into monumental and unprecedented advancements that have been made in it which has now become realistic and profound with its entry into force.

Keywords: Africa Union, Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, Kampala Convention

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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