The Southern Africa Youth Forum (SAYoF-SADC) Regional Co- Chair Ms. Maggie Mwape was the head of delegation for SADC youth who attended the Continental Youth Consultations on Youth and Forced Displacements in Africa: Trends, Challenges and prospects towards durable solutions that was held in Kampala, Uganda from 2-3 December 2019. The SAYOF-SADC delegation which participated under SADC-CNGO and Action AID delegation; on the meeting organized by African Union, in particular the African Governance Architecture (AGA) under the AGA Youth Engagements Strategy (YES).
Noting that 2019 was declared the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally displaced Persons by the African Union under the theme: “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and internally displaced persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa,” the Youth Consultations in Kampala were held as part of preparations to mark the 10th Anniversary of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) which was adopted in October 2009 as well as to mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of OAU Refugee Convention.
The SAYoF-SADC Regional Executive Co-Chair, Ms. Maggie Mwape noted that under the SAYoF-SADC cluster on Migration and Trade, SAYoF-SADC is driving the Youth engagements on forced displacements with the aim of finding durable solutions for the Youth and Children who are the mostly affected in times of forced displacements. Furthermore, Ms. Mwape noted the effects of Climate Change which the Continent must deal with as a matter of urgency as evidenced by the effects of Cyclone Idai which affected parts of the Southern African Countries leaving the Youth and children having been forcibly displaced from their communities while their livelihoods were also destroyed.
Young people from the SADC Region who formed part of the SAYoF-SADC delegation to the Continental Youth Consultation also noted that, although Africa has made significant strides in coming up with frameworks on Forced Displacement in Africa including but not limited to: the 1969 Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) as well as the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) a lot needs to be done to address effects of forced displacements in Africa. The need to protect the Human Rights of Youth and Children under forced displacements was also noted as key.
At the Consultations, it was also noted that in as much as the youth are constituting more than 65% of Africa’s population, the need for having accurate data on the exact number of Youth who are forcibly displaced in Africa to influence the implementation of durable solutions for youth is important. Part of the major causes for forced displacements of youth in Africa were cited to include armed conflicts, violations of human rights, shrinking civic space, and natural disasters in African countries. These were cited as the major challenges leading to the marginalization of Youth from opportunities around Education, employment, entrepreneurship, engagement, livelihoods and also civic engagements especially during the times of displacements.
Part of the shared durable solutions included relocation, re-integration as well as voluntary return to home communities. The meeting in Kampala, Uganda was a unique opportunity for youth to share their inputs as well as experiences and to raise awareness on Youth and Forced displacements in Africa, to interact with Policy Makers on the forced displacements agenda as well as sharing on the role of Youth in the realization and achievement of practical strategies and durable solutions to Youth and forced displacements in Africa.
SAYOF-SADC: Advocacy and Communications Department