African Union (AU) Commissioner, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has called on member states to ratify the 1969 Refugee Convention.
Opening a two-day meeting held to discuss the implementation and supervision of the 1969 Refugee Convention on Tuesday, 18 June 2019, the AU Commissioner said nine out of 55 member states have not ratified the convention.
He therefore urged the states to bolster political will, not only to ratify the convention, but to also fully implement the instrument.
The commissioner further urged the member states to work hard to handle the factors responsible for creating refugees. Terrorism and political instability are among the most serious challenges, he noted.
President Teodor Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and the Champion of the Theme of the year 2019, on his part, said promoting democracy and bringing development are the most important ways to address the problem of refugees.
Ethiopia’s President Sahlework Zewdie said a unified African spirit is important to address the challenges that faltered African countries in mitigating the cause of refugees.
Ethiopia has adopted a legal regime that would integrate refugees with communities and let them work outside of the camps, effective January 2019.
In light of this, the president said the Government of Ethiopia has been building industrial parks where refugees and host communities would work and generate income.
Ethiopia is the second African country next to Uganda that hosts more than 900 000 refugees. In 2017, the government launched Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) which paves the way for the implementation of the nine pledges it made at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York in 2016.