Regional parliamentary consultations to focus on the predicament of refugees

Photo Credit: UNHCR

 

Hosted by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will hold an African Regional Parliamentary Conference on Comprehensive Responses to Refugee Situations – Effective Parliamentary Approaches, from 11 to 13 November 2019 in Midrand, South Africa.

 The Regional Conference follows the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and will be held in the context of the African Union (AU)’s theme for 2019: The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa. The gathering will provide a platform for African members of Parliament and stakeholders working on the development and implementation of comprehensive responses related to refugees and affected host populations, to examine the issue of refugees from every angle.

 The Rt. Hon. Roger Nkodo DANG, President of the PAP, says that the regional parliamentary conference complements a series of initiatives undertaken by the continental Parliament in 2019, in line with the theme of the AU which has called for firm commitments to addressing the predicament of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.

 “The PAP is pleased to host this important conference organized by the IPU, in cooperation with UNHCR, as it will enable African legislators to learn and share experiences with global stakeholders in the process of finding durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa. We are adamant that as Parliamentarians, we need to constantly build our capacity in order to respond adequately to the issues facing our people. Therefore, this event comes at an opportune time and we hope to reflect and come up with a comprehensive framework to refugee problems across the continent,” says Rt. Hon. Nkodo DANG.

 “Parliamentarians have the power to establish a legislative framework, allocate resources and hold governments accountable to ensure that refugees worldwide receive the protection and assistance they need,” said Martin CHUNGONG, IPU Secretary General, “Parliamentarians can also help change the narrative from viewing refugees not just as people in need of assistance but as agents of change who can contribute greatly to the countries in which they live. This is why this conference is so important so that parliamentarians from the region can exchange ideas and best practice in order to turn the refugee crisis into an opportunity.”

 The African Regional Parliamentary Conference is also expected to raise awareness of African MPs on the Global Compact on Refugees. The GCR was adopted in December 2018 after two years of extensive consultations led by UNHCR and is described as a framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation. The conference is expected to result in a declaration for parliamentarians to support the implementation of effective responses to the refugee situation that will be in line with the GCR.