The AU’s role in combating the refugees problem in Africa
A GNA Feature by Iddi Yire, GNA
Accra, May 30,
GNA - The decision by the African Union (AU) to declare 2019 as the “Year of
Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)” is a very laudable
one and must be applauded by everybody.
chosen theme "Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons:
Towards durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa", shows the
AU’s increasing concern about the crisis of internal displacement.
the United Nations (UN), more than one-third of the 70 million displaced
persons around the world are in Africa.
The world body
and the AU therefore have critical roles to play in tackling the problem of
people's displacement, largely driven by conflicts and natural disasters such
as prolonged drought.
Some of the
conflicts in Africa are triggered by bad governance and apprehension between
farmers and herders; mainly due to the scarcity of resources including water
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines an IDP as someone who
has been forced to flee their home but never cross an international border.
however, is somebody forced to flee his or her country because of persecution,
war or violence.
refugees, IDPs are not protected by international law or eligible to receive
many types of aid because they are legally under the protection of their own
A refugee has a
well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality,
political opinion or membership of a particular social group.
having the largest internally displaced populations, include Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia and South Sudan.
Governments have a responsibility to address the root causes of the problem of
refugees and IDPs.
International Crisis Group’s July 2018 report indicated that over 1,300 people
were killed in the first six months of 2018 as a result of the farmer–herder
conflict in Nigeria - roughly six times the number of persons reportedly killed
by Boko Haram over the same period.
extremism and terrorism by the Boko Haram in Nigeria and other conflicts in
Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are fueling a crisis of IDPs and refugees.
Agency (GNA) reported, in May, that in excess of 1,000 people from Northern
Burkina Faso had fled their home country to settle along the Sissala enclave
following unrest in the neighboring Francophone country.
believed to be of Moshie descent, are suspected to have no official
documentation - resident or traveling permits. They have been settling along
the Tumu-Navrongo stretch up to Wuru, Kwapun, Banu, Pido, Kunchorkor and
Basisan towards River Sissili which separates the Upper West Region from Upper
security challenges in the Burkina Faso, and the inflow of refugees into Ghana,
clearly shows that the impact conflicts go beyond borders.
In order to
achieve the goals of the AU’s Agenda 2063, Africa needs to work towards ending
all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and
prevention of genocide.
Dr. Mohamed Ibn
Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN’s Office for West
Africa and the Sahel, in his remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations in
Accra on 18th April, expressed deep concern about the growing threat of extremism
He said: “The
national and regional ramifications of violent extremism and terrorism in the
Sahel constitutes a real and present threat to us all”.
weaknesses, he added, had created a fertile ground for the emergence of extremist
groups such as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, affiliates of Al-Qaida and,
more recently, ISIL.
It must not be
lost on anybody that there can never be any meaningful development in Africa
That is why it
is pertinent for the UN and the AU to put in place long term strategic plans to
deal with the problem of refugees and IDPs.
returnees in their home countries is not a great deal, however, in some cases;
they need to be given some form of assistance by their government, the AU and
the UN to be able to get their lives back.
To help address
the problem, the AU must see partnership and inclusion as pivotal in conflict
management and prevention.
body should go to every length to also ensure that there is good governance
In fact, all
member countries of the AU must be made to abide by a fixed two-term
To stop the
youth from making the perilous journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean
in search of better life, African Governments must focus priority on creating
job opportunities for the teeming young people.
efforts at preventing and combating terrorism should be strengthened. There is
also the need to increase cooperation among member states of the AU in conflict
management and resolution.
As we mark the
56th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (the predecessor of the
AU), which was founded on 25th May 1963, it is worth mentioning the pioneering role some great African
leaders played in the formation of the continental body.
include Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Modibo
Keita of Mali, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Sekou Touré of Guinea, Julius
Nyerere of Tanzania, Ben Bella of Algeria, Emperor Haile Selasse of Ethiopia,
William Tubman of Liberia, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria and Dr Nnamdi
Azikiwe of Nigeria.
The 55 member
states of the AU must be guided and always remember that the Union was created
to harness a sense of unity and tackle the continent’s challenges.
Source: GNA Story (https://ghananewsagency.org/features/the-au-s-role-in-combating-the-refugees-problem-in-africa-150669)
Published: 2019-05-30 12:31:59
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