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Ratifying and Domesticating the ICGLR pact and Protocols on Humanitarian and social issues

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Advocating on the national plane- a presentation during a conference on Translating The Great Lakes Peace and Stability Pact into Action 23-25 th April 2007, Nairobi, Kenya by Judy Wakahiu. Ratifying and Domesticating the ICGLR pact and Protocols on Humanitarian and social issues

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Advocating on the national plane- a presentation during a conference on Translating The Great Lakes Peace and Stability Pact into Action 23-25th April 2007, Nairobi, Kenya by Judy Wakahiu

Ratifying and Domesticating the ICGLR pact and Protocols on Humanitarian and social issues

Protocol on Internally Displaced Persons

Protocol on Property Rights of Returning persons

Protocol on Suppression of Sexual Violence Against Women and Children

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Why advocate ?
  • To ensure rights and dignity of IDPs/Refugees/ returnees are protected
  • To ensure that the spirit of ICGLR is not lost in the process of domesticating the protocols
  • To provide an alternative Voice ( of knowledge/experience in a specific field)
  • To infuse right base approach in law making
need to understand
Need to understand
  • The politics at the national level- displacement is a political issue

Hence know the actors and their interests

2. legislators are often motivated to pass a law if they perceive a benefit/political mileage

direct or indirect= more votes?

3 the legislative process e g
3. The legislative process: e.g.
  • Kenya applies the parliamentary system of enacting laws. This means Parliament composed of MPs, acts as the legislative body that discusses and approves laws.
  • A proposed law is discussed in Parliament through a process known as Readings: 1st, 2nd Readings, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading.
  • When Parliament adjourns at the end of the year, all matters pending before it are considered to lapse and have to be introduced afresh in the following year. This includes proposed laws that may have been midway in discussion
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4. The commitment/priority of the Government to the legislation

e.g. The Refugee Bill (draft law) was introduced in Parliament for the first time in 2003 discussions in Parliament in 2003, it faced much opposition. Why?

  • It was reintroduced in 2006 August in Parliament
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5. As an advocate, you do not have direct powers to pass the law- you have to work with Members of Parliament

How?

  • educating and creating awareness on the proposed legislation and remain sensitive to the national interest.
  • Look for friends and sympathizer within the parliament
  • Understand the parliament processes
parliamentary processes such as
Parliamentary Processes such as:
  • The Parliamentary calendar
  • House business priorities
  • Understand the roles of various committees in parliament
  • Have a linkage with Clerk of the National Assembly’s office to get information
strategies in advocating for the law
Strategies in advocating for the law

It’s a negotiation process

  • Keep in sight the ultimate goal of your advocacy and strike a balance that ensures that the law has the interest of your constituency and the MPs
  • this means taking stock of all the interests and concerns regarding the refugee/IDP situation and engaging the actors to bring these issues to the table
do not be a lone advocate
Do not be a lone advocate!
  • Engage all stakeholders
  • Create mass support / IDPs, Refugees
  • Engage the media- writing articles, respond to news items, brief them
  • Engage the legislative machinery – this is in recognition of the fact that the MPs have the greatest say and interests as representatives of their constituents
engaging
Engaging:
  • In the following ways
  • through an attractive, easy to read lobby pamphlet - it is good for reference when they are in the house/parliament - makes them sound knowledgeable
  • Have informal meetings with your allies in parliament and educate them- they are good at influencing their colleagues and helping you understand they key persons you must lobby
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Work with the Parliamentary Select Committee responsible for reviewing the law before it is debated in Parliament – be the experts and ask to provide background information: use your allies to ensure they invite you
    • Organize a workshop in a prestigious hotel
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Remain politically aware in a non-political advocacy campaign:
    • Be ready to counter argument which support your course in an informative way
    • Welcome suggestions to improve the text
    • Understand the politics around the law
consolidating the lessons in advocacy
Consolidating the lessons in advocacy

7. Be the expert

Be well informed, MPs are not necessarily experts in all matters legal

8. Take note of of those ‘experts’ who may feel left out of the process and engage

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Successful advocacy involves “seizing the day” – taking initiatives at an opportune time.
  • Draw linkages bwtween issues of advocacy and other national issues
  • Employ a non-confrontational approach, a negotiation process:
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Currency in advocacy – ensure the advocacy efforts address practical issues arising out of everyday refugee /IDP management, and not just broad human rights issues.
  • Do not lose sight of the primary objectives of your advocacy- use a right based approach
  • Evaluate your gains/loss and re strategise
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