Niger becomes first African country to introduce law protecting IDPs
Niger has become the first African country to introduce a national law for the protection and assistance of people fleeing floods, droughts and violence.
Estimates suggest that there are approximately 174,000 displaced people in Niger, mainly in regions where Islamist violence has spread from Mali and Nigeria. This excludes people who have left their homes to search for water or grazing land.
Niger’s growing displacement issue has been driven by climate change and conflict in neighbouring countries.
Lawan Magagi, Minister of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, Niger commented:
“The question of sustainable solutions has really guided us ... because internal displacement in Niger is becoming more and more recurrent”
The new law is based on the Kampala Convention, a 2009 African Union treaty that set guidelines for protection of internally displaced people.
Although other countries have ratified the agreement, none have put it into law.
Alessandra Morelli, UNHCR representative in Niger praised the new law:
"Niger continues to inspire and show its solidarity and generosity towards those forced to flee”
According to UNHCR the law will create a larger fund to help IDPs and increase penalties for assaults on them. The state will also have a larger role in preventing land disputes when people are forced to move.
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