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Experts gather to seek solution to internal displacements in Africa

By Caroline Chebet | June 8th 2021

Dr Aderomola Adeola from the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria addressing the press during the Continental Workshop on Building solutions to Internal displacement in Africa at Kabarak University School of law on June 7, 2021.[Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

Experts from across the continent have converged at a conference seeking to build on solutions to internal displacement in Africa.

The experts held an integrated physical and virtual two-day forum at Kabarak University School of Law to deliberate on gaps in research as well as developing strategies that could be used in solving internal displacements in the continent.

According to Kabarak University Vice-Chancellor Henry Kiplagat, the forum marks the beginning of a promising collaboration between Kabarak University, The University of Pretoria and Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement (GENIDA).

Significant attention

“Besides a promising collaboration, this forum also brings together distinguished academics, governments and civil society actors to discuss an issue that has become important for governance in Africa. While the issue of refugees has received significant attention, that of internal displacements remains largely unattended,” Prof Kiplagat said.

He said Kenya had experienced the problem of internal displacements, which arose from the 2007/2008 post-election violence. The chaos led to the displacement of more than 650,000 people and over 1,000 deaths.

“We continue to also have internal displacement due to the unprocedural eviction of squatters, internal conflicts and natural disasters such as floods,” he added.

The forum also targets engaging critical networks from members working in the field of internal displacement and also developing strategies that could inform national frameworks.

Prof Osogo Ambani, Dean of Kabarak School of Law, said the attendees would brainstorm on solutions to end the challenges of internal displacements.

“We have to map the problem and understand what internally displaced people are going through and what can be done. The conference brings together experts, including economists, lawyers, journalists and other professionals,” Prof Ambani said.

The experts observed that internal displacement caused political and economic instability while rights, including security, culture and protection of the elderly, are violated.

Aderomola Adeola, from the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, said that cases of internal displacements were on the rise.

“These cases are becoming more prevalent as a result of climate change fuelling conflicts and displacements. As the academia, we are seeking to develop holistic solutions and seal gaps in policies,” Dr Adeola said.

“Kenya so far has progressive laws while in South Sudan, they are developing a draft framework. In Nigeria, legislations are also being developed. This conference is engineering intellectual conversations to building solutions to internal displacement in Africa,” added Dr Adeola.

She said the forum also seeks to breach the divide between policy formation and academia.

“We are starting with understanding the gaps and finding solutions that will inform the development of national frameworks.” 

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