Responding to the International Development Committee’s report – ‘Forced Diplacement in Africa: ‘Anchors Not Walls’ – released today [Tuesday 5 March, 2019], Deborah Hyams, humanitarian policy and advocacy adviser at Christian Aid, said:
“Across Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 20 million people forced from their homes by violence and conflict are living on the margins of their own societies or in neighbouring countries as refugees, struggling for livelihoods and dignity.
“The International Development Committee’s comprehensive report provides a road map of areas the UK government needs to focus on to fulfil its pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, and its ‘Grand Bargain’ commitments to make the global humanitarian system more effective.
“We particularly welcome the Committee’s recommendations that the Department for International Development (DFID) should place greater emphasis on targeting and supporting internally displaced persons (IDPs) through its humanitarian and development programmes, including by collecting comparative data on its support for IDP and refugee populations, and by putting women and local organisations at the forefront of responses.
“The UK also has an important role to play in supporting African governments to implement the letter and spirit of the Kampala Convention, Africa’s regional instrument for the protection of internally displaced people. The African Union (AU) will mark the ten-year anniversary of the Kampala Convention in October this year, and the UK must encourage the 28 AU member states which have not yet ratified it to take this opportunity to do so.
“With huge numbers of people forcibly displaced within their own countries – 40 million people globally, including 13 million IDPs in Sub-Saharan Africa – often relatively neglected by humanitarian and development agencies, we agree with the Committee that the UK government should continue pushing for a UN High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement to be launched in 2019.
“Finally, we support the Committee’s call for DFID to track the proportion of its humanitarian funding directed to national and local responders, who are often best placed to support those who have been forcibly uprooted in the long run, as well as their host communities.
“The challenges of preventing forced displacement in Africa and promoting durable solutions are many, but displaced people should not just be seen as in need of humanitarian assistance: they have agency. DFID can help empower them by using its influence to encourage the humanitarian system to provide more flexible, multi-year funding to local and community-based organisations working directly with people displaced internally and across borders.”