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African Union; Uganda: Convention on Displaced Persons Ratified

(Feb. 25, 2010) Uganda recently became the first nation to ratify the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention). The agreement was signed in Kampala, Uganda, on Oct. 22, 2009. (African Union website,
(last visited Feb. 22, 2010).)

The treaty will become effective once 15 of the 25 nations of the African Union that have signed the Kampala Convention submit ratifications. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees praised Uganda's ratification and urged other countries to follow suit, stating “[t]his first ratification, coming within the first four month's [sic] of the Convention's adoption, is an important milestone.” Estimates put the number of internally displaced persons on the continent at 11.6 million. (UN Hails First Ratification of African Pact to Protect Millions of Displaced People, UN NEWS CENTRE, Feb. 19, 2010, available at

The Commissioner went on to state that Africa is now dealing with “complex and persistent internal displacement challenges affecting millions of people” and that “the Convention will provide a critically important legal framework for protecting, assisting and finding solutions for millions of IDPs in Africa, as well as for the prevention of future displacement by addressing the root causes.” (Id.)

The Kampala Convention has also been praised by Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. She praised Africa for taking the lead on the issue and referred to the treaty as “a significant step forward in filling the unfortunate vacuum that has traditionally been the lot of internally displaced people.” (Id.)