, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is optimistic that the African Union will soon ratify a proposed pact to address the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Mr. Musyoka noted that the Convention on the Prevention of Internal Displaced and the Prevention of and assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, proposed by the Union would go a long way in giving recognition to IDPs and assure they enjoy all their human rights.
“The Convention will ensure that they are not discriminated against in the enjoyment of any rights and freedoms on grounds that they are internally displaced’’, the Vice President added.
The Vice President said despite the huge population of IDP’s in Africa, their rights are often ignored unlike other refugees who fall under international agencies.
He said there was urgent need to have clear standards and mechanisms to safeguard the rights of IDP’s, such as right to food, water, proper sanitation and housing as provided to refugees under United Nations Conventions and the African Union.
The Vice President made the remarks Friday evening during celebration to mark World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day in Nairobi, where he was the Chief Guest.
Red Cross and Red Crescent were established 150 years ago by a Swiss businessman when he mobilized villages to assist wounded victims of the Battle of Solferino during the war between German and France.
Mr. Musyoka commended the two organizations for their humanitarian work, noting that their members have demonstrated the spirit of selflessness and voluntarism during the many tragedies witnessed in the country.
“The movement has over the years established an enviable track record in relief and humanitarian assistance for instance during the post- election violence, Nakumat and Sachangwan fire tragedies, famine relief operations among other work.
The Vice President assured that the government will continue to partner with the various humanitarian organizations to facilitate their smooth operations.
Mr. Musyoka noted that there were many challenges facing humanitarian agencies, including logistical hiccups and bureaucratic red-tape in accessing victims of conflict and other catastrophes.
He commended the Kenya Red Cross Society for establishing an emergency operation centre, saying such modern facility would go along way in enhancing coordination and efficiency in disaster management.
The head of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) regional delegation in Nairobi, Christopher Luedi said the Red Cross Movement has grown into a large humanitarian network with millions of well trained staff and volunteers who have contributed to the global response and made a difference in the lives of those affected.
Red Cross Kenya, Secretary General Abbass Gullet said the organization was committed to providing humanitarian assistance to all Kenyans irrespective of tribe and political affiliations