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Speech by Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury at the Post IDP Conference Advocacy Mission to Nigeria, in Abuja on 7 July 2015 - Embassy of Finland, Abuja : Current Affairs


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News, 7/8/2015

Speech by Ambassador Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury at the Post IDP Conference Advocacy Mission to Nigeria, in Abuja on 7 July 2015

Your Excellencies,

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Special Duties of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender of ECOWAS;

UNHCR Representative to Nigeria;

Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced People;

Representative of National Emergency Management Agency;

Representatives of Civil Society;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very happy to be here today to represent the Government of Finland.

The issue of internally displaced people is now more critical than ever, and we have been very pleased to be able to contribute to this discussion.

After the ECOWAS Ministerial Conference on Humanitarian Assistance and Internal Displacement in West Africa four years ago, ECOWAS and UNHCR decided to conduct the study that is being discussed here today. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both organizations for this work, and the three case studies on Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Nigeria. 

I also want to thank ECOWAS, UNHCR and the National Commission for organizing this dissemination event, to discuss the findings of the study with wider local stakeholder audience. It is important to properly disseminate the results of the work done, to make the most of them. This kind of events have an important role in doing just that. My Embassy was already able to witness that first hand in the event that recently took place in Abidjan. 

We have come a long way in producing this study and disseminating its results. It has been a privilege for Finland to support this work. The results provide a wealth of valuable information and a number of very useful recommendations. The case study on Nigeria gives an overview of the situation in the country during 2011-2013. Unfortunately, as we know, the IDP situation has become worse since then. We have heard repeatedly that due to insecurity in the North East, 1,5 million Nigerians have been forced to flee their homes. 

To tackle a problem of this magnitude, the efforts of all relevant actors are needed. The role of national agencies is crucial. I commend the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced People, the National Emergency Management Agency, and the State Emergency Management Agency, for their efforts and commitment. Hopefully the study and its dissemination will also do their part in further encouraging the important role of civil society organisations in the promotion and protection of the rights of the IDPs. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The value of a convention is in its implementation. This study and the events in Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and here in Abuja have an important role in promoting the implementation of the Kampala Convention, and the rights of IDPs. I congratulate ECOWAS as an important regional body, and UNHCR as the main humanitarian partner of my Government, for their partnership and collaboration in producing this critically important report and in actively disseminating its results. 

I wish all here a very fruitful day of discussion on how to use these results to promote the rights of internally displaced people. 

Thank you for your kind attention.

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Updated 7/8/2015

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