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South Sudan government urged to enact national IDP protection law

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The UN Refugee Agency in South Sudan has called on the unity government to enact a law domesticating the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. 

South Sudan this week is marking the first anniversary of its accession to the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention.

The Kampala Convention is the world’s first continent-wide legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of IDPs. It was adopted at a meeting of the African Union in October 2009. South Sudan in 2019 was the 28th country to ratify it. 

On this occasion, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, reaffirms its commitment to support the South Sudanese government in building on the momentum gained to strengthen protections for the nearly 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) within its borders. 

In a statement on Monday, the UN Refugee Agency commended the government for acceding to the Kampala Convention and developing a bill – in consultation with IDPs – to enshrine its principles into national law.

“It is critical that the bill, which is currently under review by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, now be enacted. Upholding IDPs’ human rights and creating an enabling political and legal environment for their assistance and protection as they search for durable solutions is a key component of implementing the 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan,” the statement reads in part.

It added, “Passing this legislation would help to rebuild trust with IDPs and the international community and provide a solid base for anchoring response planning, prioritization, and appropriate resource allocation.”

The UN agency said there is an urgent need to end the ongoing violence that continues to displace people within the country.

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