The Public Service International (PSI) has called on the Federal Government to ensure speedy passage and domestication of United Nations (UN) Convention and legal framework which ensures protection of rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
PSI regional Secretary for Africa and Arab Region, Comrade Sani Baba, made the call in Abuja during a walk organised as part of the National Day in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Kampala convention.
He explained that the road walk which kicked off at the Federal secretariat to Millennium Park in Abuja was to sensitise the public on plight of IDPs and the need to protect their rights.
The two days event is organised by the PSI and the National Commission For Refugees, Migration and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFMRI).
Comrade Baba said IDPs in the country like every other citizen have rights to basic healthcare, education and public services. He however, said currently, most IDP camps lack facilities to ensure that displaced persons enjoy quality access to public services.
He said, “If you go to the IDP camps, most of them are finding it really hard to survive. Most of them are used to farming and now they do not have sufficient land to farm, even when they want to buy, they don’t get it. If you go to the camps, they don’t have access to health facilities, electricity. Even the place they stay is not healthy for them and their children. And most importantly, education. If you go to some of these camps, the education facilities are nothing to write home about.
So, the legal framework, will actually give the IDPs themselves the right to engage the government and even the local communities so that they can have access to all these things.
He therefore urged the Notional Assembly to ensure quick passage of the legal frameworks that ensure protection of IDPs.
Also speaking, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs Cecilia Jimenez-Damary said though Nigeria is doing it best for IDPs, but there is still much to be done.
She said there is need for the IDPs themselves to be encouraged to take part in projects that affect them.
She said, “My advocacy worldwide is to encourage the participation of IDPs in decisions that affects them.”
In his remarks, the Federal Commissioner NCFRMI, Sen Basheer Garba Mohammed said the Commission is delighted to celebrate the resilience of the IDPs.
He said, “Be rest assured that the federal government and our partners are working hard to find durable solutions to Internal Displacement within the country.”
He said the Commission is committed not only to provide support for displaced persons but to ensure that the number of IDPs don’t increase in the country.
He assured that the Commission is working with security agencies and other relevant authorities to put a stop to known causes of internal displacement in the country.
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