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President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea arrives in Uganda this Friday for a two-day official visit at the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni.

President Mbasogo’s visit comes shortly after United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) welcomed Equatorial Guinea’s accession to the Kampala Convention on internally displaced people (IDPs), becoming the 29th African Union (AU) member state to do so according to the UNHCR.

The Kampala Convention is the world’s first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of IDPs, who often face heightened risks, violations and sexual violence because of their displacement, while they struggle to access their rights and basic protection.

Equatorial Guinea deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala Convention at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in October this year. With this development, 29 of the AU’s 55 member states have now acceded to the Kampala Convention.

The move by Equatorial Guinea is particularly opportune as the Kampala Convention is marking its 10th anniversary this year with activities organized by the AU with support from UNHCR and other partners.

President Mbasogo who is the official AU champion of 2019 on finding solutions to forced displacement in Africa and will represent the AU at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva will have a tete-a-tete meeting with President Yoweri Museveni before undertaking an upcountry tour.

Mbasogo will tour Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement center, Panyandoli Health Centre 111, Panyandoli vocation school and Kiryandongo Hospital to have a firsthand experience on how Uganda has successfully handled the refugee situation.

Over one million refugees have fled to Uganda in the last two and a half years, making the Pearl of Africa the third largest refugee-hosting country in the world after Turkey and Pakistan, with 1.36 million refugees by June 2018. Wars, violence and persecution in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region were the main drivers of forced displacement into Uganda, led by South Sudan’s conflict, insecurity and ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and political instability and human rights violations in Burundi.