African Union Summit
African Union hosts special summit on the forcibly displaced
From October 19-23, 2009, the Ugandan capital of Kampala hosted an historic gathering of African leaders dedicated to the issue of forcibly displaced people. Heads of state and government from across the continent attended the meeting, which developed a plan of action and adopted a landmark Convention for the protection of internally displaced people across Africa. UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres addressed the meeting as representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The summit was convened to address root causes and find solutions for displacement; identify ways of preventing forced displacement; improve protection for the forcibly displaced; strengthening measures to meet the specific needs of displaced women and children; devise strategies to reduce the impact of natural disasters as a cause for displacement of people; develop approaches to facilitate the rebuilding of communities emerging from conflict; and enhance partnerships in addressing forced displacement across Africa.
The gathering comes 40 years after the key Organization of African Unity Convention on refugee protection. On the last day of the Kampala meeting, the participants adopted the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, which is the first legally binding international instrument on internal displacement having such broad regional scope. The Convention will provide a comprehensive regional framework governing the protection and assistance of IDPs - before, during and after displacement.
The phenomenon of internal displacement continues to expand on the African continent, even as refugee numbers progressively decline. At the beginning of this year, Africa was home to an estimated 11.6 million internally displaced people (IDP), or about 45 percent of the world's IDPs. The continent also has some 2,659,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. Some 2 million people were newly displaced during the course of last year.
Statistics for the number of displaced people in Africa of concern to UNHCR
Comprehensive graphical data on populations of concern in the continent