Zimbabwe: Government Urged to Domesticate Kampala Convection

30 October 2020

A local non-governmental organization has urged the government to domesticate a regional treaty to curb continued internal displacements and arbitrary evictions of communities without proper compensation.

Partnerships for Development Initiatives (PDI) is pushing for the domestication of the Kampala Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), saying the government has taken too long to enact a local law since ratifying the convention in 2013.

Simon Mukwaya, PDI Director said this is an oversight on government's part as the domestication of the convention will translate to better protection and enjoyment of civil, economic, social and political rights.

Mukwaya said displacements of communities to pave way for developments should be guided by a substantive legal framework.

He noted that the process of domestication must be inclusive and focus on the needs of communities that are forced to relocate for variegated reasons, ranging from political violence, development, mining among others.

Mukwaya made these remarks on the sidelines of an all stakeholder's engagement towards the ratification of the Kampala conventions, where the academia made presentations on the process of domesticating international treaties.

"We want to bring urgency to this issue of IDP. This is a thorny issue that continues to affect local citizens and communities.

"We take this issue of domestication of the Kampala Convention as a process. We have gone to the communities and spoken to them, we captured community voices" said Mukwaya.

African University (AU) Institute of Peace Leadership and Governance, Philosophy of Doctorate (PhD) students said domestication is dogged by bureaucratic red tape and lethargic approach by national institutions.

Locally IDP is victims of violence, human rights violations, natural disasters and people displaced for development where the governments are complicit and fail to uphold principles of good governance.

The AU, PhD class said lack of convergence on what an IDP is, has kindled the lack of political will to conclusively address the issues through domestication of the Kampala Convention.

"We noted that the approach to development top-down approach which lacks consultation. We continue to make the same mistake, as we keep moving our people for investment purposes. Approach to development needs to be revisited as we go forward," said one of the PhD students.

PDI is part of a CSO consortium working under the Organization for Inter Migration (IOM) and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), which is advancing collaborative approach to interrogate impact and effect it has of displacements on communities and offer policy recommendations.

Mukwaya said they invited partners from the academia to add their voice in the ongoing process, of advocacy and lobby approach which centres on collaboration and partnerships.

"We still felt that there was a component missing which is the academia. We have managed to bring them on board this platform so that we can be able to tap into their knowledge to enrich this process," said Mukwaya.

The Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) is the world's first continental instrument legally binding governments to protect rights and wellbeing of people forced to flee their homes by conflict, violence, disasters.

Since its adoption, the African Union (AU) Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention, or the Convention) remains the only international legally binding instrument on internal displacement.

Locally, there are no laws which specifically deal with IDPs in the country, despite ratifying and signing the Kampala convention in 2013 as well as having a progressive constitution which protects human rights.

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