UNHCR-ECOWAS Court agree on measures to strengthen implementation of 2015 Memorandum of Understanding

Senior legal staff of the Community Court of Justice have met with their counterparts from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to discuss ways of strengthening their partnership, particularly the implementation of the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between both organisations relating to the protection of stateless persons, refugees and Internally Displaced Person.

The virtual meeting, held on Thursday, 18th February 2021, agreed measures for strengthening the implementation of the 2015 MOU and joint activities for inclusion in their joint 2021 work plan 18th February, 2021 within the framework of the partnership agreement between the two organizations.

The Court’s delegation was led by the Director of Research and Documentation, Dr Ousmane Diallo who said that the MOU will have provide vital support for vulnerable groups and praised the UNHCR for the initiative towards the revitalisation of the partnership through the Memorandum.

He said that the two organisations have the obligation to strengthen the relationship for their mutual benefit, particularly for the benefit of displaced persons and encouraged officials of the UNHCR to avail themselves of the court’s reliance on virtual technology to follow court sessions in order to deepen their knowledge of the court’s jurisdiction and jurisprudence.

While inviting UNHCR to involve in the fight against human right violation in the region, Dr. Diallo also urged the agency to support the establishment of a legal funds for the indigent citizens who would otherwise not afford the cost of litigation to protect their human rights as well as help in the disemiantion of the decisions of the Court.

The leader of the two member UNHCR delegation at the meeting, Mrs Amah Assiama-Hillgartner, who was supported by Joan Ogu said the meeting marked the continuation of the working relationship between the two organisations and proposed a joint UNHCR-ECCJ Retreat, to review the current MoU, taking into account the changing operational environment fraught with insecurities, massive human rights violations and extreme poverty, as well as new and emerging strategies for protection and solutions.

The Retreat, scheduled for the second quarter of the year, will also provide an opportunity to adopt a joint Action Plan that would include sensitization and awareness raising activities, trainings and capacity building, among others.

Both organisations agreed to contribute to ensuring the proper interpretation and application of relevant international, regional and national legal and policy instruments affecting persons of concerns.

The delegation of the court also included Athanase Atannon, Mrs Franca Ofor, Mr Aboubacar Diakite and Felicien Hounkanrin of the Information and Communication unit of the Court.