On the occasion of the World Refugee Day celebration, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, through its Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa (the Special Rapporteur), Ms Maya Sahli Fadel, joins refugees across the world and those in Africa in particular to commemorate this day.
As we celebrate this day, the Special Rapporteur is concerned at the increasing number of refugees on the continent as a result of the political instability and conflict in some African countries.
The theme for this year is: “In one minute a family can lose everything… but you can help them regain hope.”
In this regard, the Special Rapporteur is appealing to all stakeholders to raise awareness about the situation of refugees worldwide with special emphasis on the situation of refugees in Africa. She is calling on everyone to extend their generosity and concern to refugees.
The Special Rapporteur wishes to remind African States of their obligations under the OAU 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa ratified by the majority of African countries. Under Article 2 (1) of the Convention, OAU (AU) Member States undertake to use their best endeavours consistent with their respective legislations to receive refugees and to secure the settlement of those refugees who, for well-founded reasons, are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or nationality.
The Special Rapporteur therefore calls on African States that have not yet done so to draft domestic legislation on asylum and establish national institutions to protect refugees living in their respective territories. She further calls on African States to implement regional and international legal instruments which they have ratified in order to ensure greater protection of the rights of refugees.
The Special Rapporteur encourages countries that have extended their hospitality and solidarity to refugees living in their territories, and calls on all African States to contribute collectively to the costs relating to the accommodation of refugees in accordance with the principle of African solidarity and international cooperation as stipulated in the OAU 1969 Convention.
The Special Rapporteur urges all AU Member States to take the necessary measures to prevent any situation that may lead to the forceful displacement of populations.
Banjul, 20 June 2013