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Expert Opinion

What the Kampala Convention means – concretely- for human rights in Africa and in the world

On December 6, 2012, the Kampala Convention came into force

The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa – the so-called “Kampala Convention” (or, as we call it, the KC) became legally binding last Thursday.

The KC is a legally binding legal instrument for the 15 states that have ratified – now 16, as Mali has joined the other African states by ratifying the convention – as well as a means of empowering IDPs to know and claim their rights; they can assert their governments’ responsibilities to protect and assist them.

Promoting and educating IDPs, host communities, and the organisations that assist them about why the KC matters to them is an essential component of a national response. The KC reflects the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which is a key global framework on internal displacement, and incorporates the past experiences in African countries related to humanitarian assistance and human rights of IDPs.

In this way, it is also a good guide for states as well as civil society organisations for developing a comprehensive response that addresses all causes of displacement, from war to floods and beyond.  It  also provides a road map that dignifies the rights of people forced to flee at all points of their displacement; going beyond emergency response to include better preparedness (to help prevent displacement in the first place) to helping to rebuild the lives and find lasting solutions to those who have been displaced.

For more info, visit IDMC’s Kampala Convention webpage

On this momentous occasion, IDMC has produced a video about the convention; watch below or check out our Youtube page at