Monday, August 05, 2013

'African values should be based on respect, protection of human rights'
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 19 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

RESPECT and protection of human rights should be accompanied by a concern for social justice and attention to the most vulnerable people in society, says AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Aisha Abdullahi.

And deputy minister in the office of the Vice-President Davies Mwango says Zambia has finalised guidelines on internal displacement that reflects the different factors to ensure a rights-based development action.

Officiating at a two-day meeting on implementation and domestication of the African Union convention (Kampala Convention) on the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Lusaka yesterday, Abdullahi said African values such as justice should be based on respect and protection of human rights.

"Protection should be accompanied by a concern for social justice as well as attention to the most vulnerable members of society," she said.

"IDPs are among the most vulnerable members of our societies, therefore, the place given to them in our law and in our international obligations are a good indicator of our commitment to the creation of a fair and safe society for all."

She said despite a reduction of conflicts, Africa has continued to top the list of the number of victims of forced displacement with more than 10 million IDPs and more than five million refugees.

And Mwango said Zambia has had a fair share of displacements to learn from, which include natural and human induced disasters, land disputes, development projects, encroachment of populations on land meant for other activities, conflicts along border areas and differences in religious affiliations.

"We are determined to adopt measures aimed at preventing and putting an end to the phenomenon of internal displacements caused by natural disasters as well as addressing displacements caused by development projects," said Mwango.

"Government has developed the draft national resettlement policy to cover issues of IDPs; we have also developed a Cabinet memo on domestication of the Kampala Convention. Government has also developed guidelines for compensation and resettlement of IDPs which will provide mechanisms for dealing with IDPs so this meeting is timely since its resolutions will be taken into consideration when finalising the drafts and subsequent preparations of the Bill."

Participants were drawn from Zambia, Lesotho and Swaziland, which have all ratified the Convention.

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