UN agency commits to helping protect land rights for Africa’s displaced

UN agency commits to helping protect land rights for Africa’s displaced

UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT Anna Tibaijuka
The United Nations agency tasked with promoting adequate shelter for all has committed to ensuring better protection of land and property rights for people uprooted from their homes in Africa, which hosts nearly half of the total number of displaced persons worldwide.

UN-HABITAT and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week committing them to this common goal.

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, said she hoped the new agreement will be an opportunity to “work together to mobilize resources and help the significant number of displaced persons in Africa.”

The two institutions will work together to promote the creation of proper legal and institutional frameworks so that countries can be better prepared to protect the rights of displaced populations and to find durable solutions with regards to land and property issues.

In 2008 there were an estimated 11.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa, nearly half of the total number of displaced worldwide.

“The technical assistance that UN-HABITAT can provide will aid us greatly in our quest to help the huge displaced populations in the Great Lakes Region,” said Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary of the ICGLR. “The sharing of experience and resources is going to be essential in dealing with the current situation.”

The ICGLR is an institution created by Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia to implement the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.