Officials at the Ministry of Peace are drafting a new proclamation to establish a national fund for internally displaced people (IDP) in order to streamline aid for families forced to leave their homes due to conflict or other unforeseen circumstances.
It is a move intended at developing a legal framework to oversee resource mobilization and the provision of long-term solutions for IDPs. The Ministry of Peace (MoP) is working on the draft with the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission and resident humanitarian coordinators in Addis Ababa.
A steering committee comprised of major government and non-government actors involved in refugee and IDP work prepared the bill. It also recognizes full legal protection for IDPs by safeguarding them from pre- to post-displacement.
In addition to humanitarian and development assistance, the document emphasizes the importance of ensuring that IDPs retain all of their rights as citizens.
The Interministerial Committee, led by Minister of Peace, Binalf Andualem, will review the document, which will be sent to the Ministry of Justice in the coming weeks. The document will then be discussed with stakeholders before being table to the council of ministers and the Parliament for ratification.
“The draft allows for the creation of a “National IDPs Fund,” Eshete Dessie (Amb.), advisor to the minister of peace,” said. “The fund will be pooled from different international partners, stakeholders, domestic NGOs, the government, and refugee fund sources.”
The Ambassador told The Reporter that if the proclamation is approved and the fund established, it will be used to re-establish and create a sustainable livelihood for IDPs.
Ethiopia recently ratified the Kampala Convention, which African countries first adopted back in 2009. Eshete believes that the country has taken positive strides by ratifying the convention, which provides “the most comprehensive legal protection for IDPs at the regional level.”
He says that the importance of the convention has been recognized as a tool for making policies that lead to long-term solutions.
In cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Convention is currently being translated into different local languages, including Amharic, Oromifa, and Tigrinya, to further the purpose of sensitization and as a prerequisite for domestication.
“The IDPs proclamation is about to be tabled before the cabinet. It is incredible progress for Ethiopia, and we would like to support Ethiopia in moving forward,” said Jan Bade, deputy head of development cooperation at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Addis Ababa and regional coordinator for refugees and migration in the Horn of Africa.
“We will also support regional governments on IDPs, in cooperation with federal authorities.”
There are close to five million IDPs in Ethiopia.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, conflict and violence caused over 5.1 million displacements inside Ethiopia alone in 2021, more than tripling the number reported in 2020 and the highest figure recorded for any country in a single year.