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Internal Conflict – > Displacement – > Mixed movements of populations Refugees + armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries. PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Internal Conflict – > Displacement – > Mixed movements of populations Refugees + armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries. Presence of armed elements in camps or refugee- populated areas threatens the civilian nature of asylum

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Internal Conflict – > Displacement – > Mixed movements of populations Refugees + armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries.

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Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

  • Internal Conflict –> Displacement –> Mixed movements of populations

  • Refugees + armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries.

  • Presence of armed elements in camps or refugee- populated areas threatens the civilian nature of asylum

  • Protection problems + Security concerns for host communities and receiving States.

  • Further complications when those claiming to be former fighters seek asylum.


Impact on fundamental principles of refugee law

IMPACT ON FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF REFUGEE LAW

  • The humanitarian and non-political nature of asylum;

  • The civilian character of refugee camps and settlements;

  • Asylum for all those who meet the refugee criteria.


Consequences for security and welfare of refugees

CONSEQUENCES FOR SECURITY AND WELFARE OF REFUGEES

  • Breakdown of law and order in camps,

  • Serious human rights violations, such as, forced recruitment, physical and sexual abuse.

  • Deterioration of security also affects host communities and generates hostility towards refugees.


Separation of armed elments from refugee populations

SEPARATION OF ARMED ELMENTS FROM REFUGEE POPULATIONS

  • Need to draw a clear distinction between refugees, and armed elements not deserving of protection under international refugee instruments.

  • United Nations Security Council: situations where refugees are vulnerable to harassment or to infiltration by armed elements may constitute a threat to international peace and security.


Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Relevant instruments: United Nations Charter, international humanitarian law, international refugee law.

  • The persons engaged in armed conflict who cross an international border without genuinely having laid down their arms carry out a military agenda.

  • Inconsistent with obligations of member States to maintain international peace and security, and friendly relations between States, as defined in the Charter and United Nations General Assembly resolutions.


Duties of states under humanitarian law

DUTIES OF STATES UNDER HUMANITARIAN LAW

  • Disarm combatants engaged in international conflict

  • Separate them from the civilian population

  • Intern them at a safe location away from the border.


Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

HUMANITARIAN AND NON-POLITICAL CHARACTER OF ASYLUM

  • Preamble to the 1951 Convention

  • Relevant provisions of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.


Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

HUMANITARIAN AND NON-POLITICAL CHARACTER OF ASYLUM

  • Those carrying out military activities cannot be considered to be refugees. They are the responsibility of the State in whose territory they find themselves.

  • Former fighters, deserters and draft evadersmay have a claim to refugee status, providing they have not been responsible for activities which could exclude them from international protection


Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

IDENTIFICATION, SEPARATION AND INTERNMENT OF ARMED ELEMENTS

  • No definition under International humanitarian law of fighters in an internal conflict (reluctance of States to confer a formal “combatant” status upon those whom they consider as rebels and insurgents)

  • UNHCR working definition uses the term “armed element”


Criteria for the purpose of separation armed element

CRITERIA FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEPARATION: “ARMED ELEMENT”

Any person who is “a member of an armed or military organization or establishment, whether regular or irregular,or has been participating actively in military activities and hostilities, or has undertaken activities to recruit or train military personnel, or has been in a command or decision-making position in an armed organization or establishment, or has arrived in the receiving country carrying arms or in military uniform, or having presented himself in the receiving country as a civilian, assumes or shows the intention to assume any of the above attributes.”


Preventive measures

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

  • OAU Convention: calls on countries of asylum to settle refugees at a safe distance from the frontier of their county of origin

  • Location of refugees away from the zone of conflict

  • Regular policing of refugee camps and refugee populated


After separation from refugee population responsibility of the host state

AFTER SEPARATION FROM REFUGEE POPULATION: RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HOST STATE

  • Fighters should be interned at a safe location from the border

  • Those confined are entitled to the basic necessities of life

  • Protected from forcible return to their own country under international humanitarian law.

  • Child soldiers require special protection and assistance measures.


Asylum claims from former armed elements

ASYLUM CLAIMS FROM FORMER ARMED ELEMENTS

  • In most mass influx situations, asylum is granted as a result of group determination on a prima facie basis, with no individual examination of claims.

  • Asylum claims can be made by individuals having participated in the armed conflict, but who claim to have been demobilized, demilitarized, or to have deserted prior to or after entering the host country.


Internal conflict displacement mixed movements of populations refugees armed elements seek sanctuary in neighboring countries

ASYLUM CLAIMS FROM FORMER ARMED ELEMENTS

  • In principle, former armed elements should be regarded as civilians having abandoned their military activities.

  • In practice, it is difficult to establish that they have genuinely and permanently laid down their arms. It may not always be clear who is a deserter or a demobilized person, and who is merely seeking “rest and recuperation” before returning to military activities.


Are former fighter refugees

ARE FORMER FIGHTER REFUGEES?

  • Former fighters involved in internal conflicts should not automatically benefit from refugee status through group determination on a prima facie basis.

  • Not considered as asylum-seekers until it has established that they have genuinely and permanently given up their military activities.

  • Claims examined individually in a special procedure: (i) establish the civilian character of the applicant and (ii) examine the refugee claim.

  • Responsibility for the procedure rests with the host State.


Family members

FAMILY MEMBERS

  • If refugee status is based on group determination, family members of armed elements should be treated prima facie as refugees.

  • Family members of armed or former armed elements, particularly women, children and the elderly, should not be placed in internment camps in the interests of their own safety and well-being.


Conclusion

CONCLUSION

  • No solutions unless States are committed to action.

  • Separation of armed elements is one element in an overall strategy to preserve the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum.

  • Dilemmas and operational constraints.


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