UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomes South Sudan's ground-breaking accession to the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention.
The Kampala Convention is the first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons, which incorporates the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
"South Sudan becomes the 28th country to ratify the Kampala Convention. This is a significant milestone achieved by the world's newest country. It is also timely as this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Convention." UNHCR Representative to South Sudan, Mr Johann Siffointe said.
Its accession has come at a time when South Sudan and the whole Africa region are faced with complex and protracted internal displacement challenges affecting millions of men, women and children. The Kampala Convention will guide a critically important legal framework in South Sudan for protecting, assisting and finding solutions for almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese, as well as for the prevention of future displacement by addressing the root causes.
"While congratulating South Sudan's important and historic step forward, UNHCR urges South Sudan to move beyond accession and towards national legislation. South Sudan must ensure that the Convention leads to positive changes which will enable South Sudan to respond and find solutions for internally displaced South Sudanese," Mr Siffointe emphasized.
UNHCR applauds South Sudan's encouraging step forward to protect almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese as well as more than 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries.
While the government is primarily responsible for the provision of emergency assistance and effective protection for internally displaced persons, UNHCR will continue to ensure that internally displaced South Sudanese have access to adequate assistance and protection, and seek durable solutions.