The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has pledged its commitment to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are victims of various crises in the region.
The pledge is the outcome of a recent study in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Nigeria.
The ECOWAS Commission and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) jointly conducted the study.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Dr Fatima Dia Sow, said the study would facilitate the examination and understanding of internal displacement in the region as well as determine the applicable legal, policy and institutional benchmarks for enabling Member States respond to these issues.
In a speech at the handover of the Finish Government-funded Study, in Abuja, the Commissioner represented by the Director of Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Daniel Eklu, expressed gratitude to the UNHCR and the Government of Finland for their contributions to the study.
UNHCR Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Angele Dikogue-Atangana, said the UNHRC-ECOWAS collaboration on the study was motivated by the need to provide a baseline record for determining the extent, nature and policy environment of internal displacement in selected ECOWAS countries.
She urged ECOWAS Member States to draw inspiration from the study to sign, ratify, domesticate and implement the Kampala Convention on IDPs.
The Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ritta Korpivaara, expressed delight at the judicious use of the fund and stressed the need to do more to address the increase in the number of IDPs in the region.
Political crises, among them the Boko Haram terror in Nigeria, have left millions internally displaced in the region.
– CAJ News