Faced with multiple and negative effects of incessant and perennial conflicts and disasters in the West African region, particularly in the Sahel, and the huge attendant displacement of populations reaching over 3 million persons, the ECOWAS Commission is organizing in-country workshops in Member States to sensitize and encourage them on the necessity to domesticate and implement the Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs. The workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso held from the 29 to 30 September, 2021.
This major objective of that Conference was to sensitize ECOWAS Member States at a high decision-making level, of the essence of signing, ratifying, domesticating, and implementing the Kampala Convention as a binding legal text to protect the rights and provide the needs of Internally Displaced Persons in West Africa.
Giving a remark on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou during the workshop, which took place in Splendid Hotel in Burkina Faso Ouagadougou, the Commissioner in charge of Social Affairs and Gender of ECOWAS Commission Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, reiterated the obligation of the ECOWAS Commission to accompany Member States in finding durable solutions to the causes of displacements and its effects on the affected population in the region. The Commissioner recalled the impressive scorecard of the ECOWAS region in the process of signing, ratification, domestication and implementation of the Kampala Convention, which she said played a major role in the coming into force of the Convention in 2012 and the need to maintain the momentum.
Dr. Siga commended the Government of Burkina Faso for showing a lot of commitment and resilience in protecting and assisting the displaced population resulting from overwhelming displacements currently being experienced in the country. She encouraged the Government of Burkina Faso to continue in this track by domesticating and implementing the Convention to create a legal framework to enhance the protection and assistance of IDPs in Burkina Faso.
Commissioner Jagne thanked all partners including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the
International Organisation for Migration (IOM), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) etc. who have stood with the ECOWAS region during this difficult humanitarian times, particularly, Burkina Faso.
Also speaking at the event, the Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Burkina Faso, Mr. Henry Serge Atsomautsy expressed his appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for organizing the workshop which he said is an excellent strategy towards the domestication and implementation of the Kampala Convention in Burkina Faso. He explained that the success of such an important step requires synergy from all stakeholders. He conveyed the willingness for the UNHCR to assist the process to the best of its ability stressing the vulnerability of the displaced population in the face of other challenges such as the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Representative of the Minister of Justice of Burkina Faso, Mr. Ziwindgniga Joel Aristide DJIGUMDE commended the ECOWAS Commission for the usefulness of the workshop and stressed that Burkina Faso will take advantage of the momentum created by the workshop to enhance the collaboration and synergy to achieve the aim of domestication and implementation of the Convention to prevent further displacements in Burkina Faso and equally provide an enabling environment to protect and assist those who are displaced. He encouraged all participants to work assiduously to come up with effective recommendations.
The meeting was declared open by the Deputy President of the National Assembly, Mr. Nestor Bastio Bassiere. In his remark, he underscored the importance of the workshop and expressed the gratitude of the Government of Burkina Faso to the ECOWAS Commission for its continued assistance to Burkina Faso. He called on all participants to critically consider all the elements for an expedited domestication and implementation of the Convention in Burkina Faso.
Among the salient recommendations towards an expedited domestication and implementation in Burkina Faso include; the necessity to develop a regional strategy on the implementation of the Convention in West Africa, a reinforced political will by Member States, national and regional synergy as well as enhanced collaboration with the African Union.
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