Lawmakers Sensitized on the Kampala Convention
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
A day long sensitisation workshop for law makers on the protection and assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) under the Kampala Convention was held on Monday 21 March 2011 at Jerma Beach hotel in Kololi.
Jointly organised by the refugee Commission of The Gambia under the ministry of Interior, Internally Displaced Management Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Commission and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR, the workshop was also attended by immigration officers and journalists.
In his keynote address, the minister of Interior, Mr Ousman Sonko said the workshop is to ensure that National Assembly members acknowledge the value of the AU Kampala Convention for the protection of IDPs in the Gambia and Africa as a whole.
He said that the acknowledgement should be on the basis of good understanding of the convention and its provisions and with reference to related international/regional legal instruments.
“Today in Africa, many countries have experienced economic losses due to natural disasters such as floods, storms, landslides, wildfires and drought, in some. We have seen many examples of this in the past decade, especially in our sub-region,” said Sonko.
He stated that internal displacement in The Gambia has also been mainly due to natural disaster such as floods, in the past few years, for instance, in the year 2010, floods were the reason for many displacements.
He further said that when such natural disasters occur governments must react as here in the Gambia and protect as well as come to the aid of the victims.
The Interior minister said the workshop seeks to ensure that law makers include the ratification of the Kampala Convention in their agenda and initiate the necessary debates and contributions within the assembly and with all other relevant institutions to make the ratification possible.
He added that the ensuring lawmakers commit to adopt all legislative measures, including the amendments to the national legislation required for the effective implementation of the Convention is also part of the ultimate aims of the workshop.
He encouraged the participants to kick start the national institutional process needed to attain the speedy ratification and entry into force of the Kampala Convention and its implementation at the earliest possible time.
On his part, the speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Abdoulie Bojang assured the participants that the National Assembly is dedicated to the Pan African ideals that guided the solidarity among African countries and the people of Africa during the struggle for liberation from colonialism.
He also expressed their resolve to continue extending protection and humanitarian assistance to victims of forced displacement and search for durable solutions by enacting the relevant laws.
“We in the National Assembly are aware of the outcomes of the African Union Special Summit in Kampala, Uganda in 2009, where the Au Convention was adopted.
Since this is the first such Convention, it has been discussed at the Opan African Parliament where The Gambia is a member like all other AU member states”, said speaker Bojang.
He commended the organizers and trainers for bringing the sensitisation workshop to the Gambia, assuring them that they will put what they learn in good use. He concluded that they will also use their added knowledge when the Convention is finally presented to the National Assembly for ratification.
Author: baboucarr Ceesay