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The IDP crisis today and the protracted IDP situations in Africa. Mahnirban Calcutta Research Group, India 5 December 2007 Khassim Diagne, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR Geneva. Background.

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The idp crisis today and the protracted idp situations in africa

The IDP crisis today and the protracted IDP situations in Africa

Mahnirban Calcutta Research Group, India

5 December 2007

Khassim Diagne, Senior Policy Advisor, UNHCR Geneva

Background Africa

  • Current estimates by IDMC place the number of conflict related IDPs at 24.5 million in 2006. The bulk of it in Africa.

  • Countries with the highest number: Sudan (5m), Uganda (1.7m) and DRC (1.1m). Other situations include Cote d’Ivoire (700,000), Somalia (400,000) and Chad (150,000)

  • West Africa. A new terminology is arising called « climate change displacement. While majority of displacement is due to conflicts, increasingly displacement is due to natural disasters as recently seen with the floods in Uganda, Somalia and parts of»

Who is an idp
Who is an IDP? Africa

  • IDPs are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized border (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement)

An attempted definition of a protracted idp situation
An attempted definition of a protracted IDP situation Africa

  • New field of research

  • Using the refugee analogy, 25,000 IDPs or more who have been in exile for five or more years. NRC estimates that the average length of the conflicts that caused displacement and prevented return stood at 14 years in 2004.

  • However, caution about using an arbitrary figure such as 25,000, or even a particular timeframe. Instead the focus should be the absence or failure of solutions as such.

  • At Brookings Bern/UNHCR seminar in June 2007, protracted IDP situations are those in which:

  • The process for finding durable solutions is stalled, and/or

  • IDPs are marginalized as a consequence of violations or a lack of protection of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

Causes of protracted displacements in africa
Causes of protracted displacements in Africa Africa

  • Starting point is that protracted displacement in Africa occur on the territories of fragile or collapsed states

  • Overwhelming majority of displacement situations in Africa are the result of civil wars, inter-communal violence or government repression. Some of these conflicts are either frozen (Uganda, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire) or active (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan). In 2000, an intra-state conflict, war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, however, resulted in massive displacement.

  • Intense ethnic and communal violence (Burundi, DRC, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Chad), high levels of organized violence and destruction

Features Africa

  • In general displaced do not settle in camps, but rather locate in or nearer “host communities” or in urban areas making them harder to access.

  • Mostly populated by a large proportion of people with special needs such as children, women and the elderly

  • Live in great deprivation and danger, SGBV

  • Protracted IDP situations rarely seen as humanitarian emergencies

Features Africa

  • Vested economic interest by various parties in the continuation of the armed conflict

  • Lack of international interest

  • State reluctant to open their borders. Policy of containment. Safe zones particularly where peacekeeping operations exist. Asylum fatigue

  • Residual caseloads

  • Political hostages and vested economic interests

  • Inadequate national responses

Visible consequences
Visible consequences Africa

  • Destabilizing effects on regional security

  • Material deprivation

  • Idleness, despair and low self worth,

  • Social tension and violence

  • Dependency syndrome, passive recipients of assistance

  • Perception of burden, resentment and hostility

  • Discrimination based on being an IDP

  • Lack of adequate housing

  • Lack of protection of property left behind

Consequences Africa

  • Lack of (access to) work/livelihoods

  • Lack of documentation

  • No or limited access to health and education

  • Sometimes lack of food/food security

  • Difficulties accessing pension rights and asserting tenancy rights

  • Discrimination related to the fact of their displacement

  • Limitations on their free choice of durable solutions

What could be some of the solutions preliminary remarks
What could be some of the solutions – preliminary remarks Africa

  • Invariably, the policy options for dealing with protracted IDP situations revolve around the three solutions under section V of the GP. Ultimately political commitment is key to resolving the conflicts that are at the root causes of most protracted IDP situations. To quote former Assistant High Commissioner, Kamel Morjane, “for every protracted situation, there is a political origin. Camps and idle populations do not simply appear as a natural consequence of forced displacement – they are established in response to political realities and constraints. Solutions, then, must ultimately be sought in the political arena.”

Solutions preliminary remarks
Solutions – preliminary remarks Africa

  • While presented separately, comprehensive plans of actions for IDPs, involving a mix of the three solutions, have a clear conceptual logic. They require as former High Commissioner Ogata said “a convergence of interests covering humanitarian, political, and security action by states, international and regional powers”

Solution 1 return to communities of origin
Solution 1: Return to communities of origin Africa

  • Return to communities of origin: may include the identification of particular sub-groups sharing certain characteristics (political affiliation, ethnic, religious, language and/or cultural background) and/or originating from a specific part of the country of origin where conditions may be more conducive for return

Solution 2 integration in host communities
Solution 2: Integration in host communities Africa

  • Integration in host communities: given the considerable time that IDPs have spent in the area of displacement, local integration may be the only viable option. Economic self-reliance will be key. However, comprehensive package providing concrete benefits for the host communities must be developed. Role of development actors will be crucial. Ensure that, from the outset, assistance programs for IDPs have a limited emergency relief and care and maintenance phase. Early recovery, self reliance built in the operations from the start

Solution 3 relocation to another part of the country
Solution 3: Relocation to another part of the country Africa

  • Relocation and reintegration elsewhere in the country

  • Community based programs also necessary to ensure brassage between the two groups

Other solutions
Other solutions Africa

  • Prevention and mitigation of displacement. Are there steps which can be taken early in displacement from becoming a protracted situation. See Guiding Principle, no 21 (para 3)

  • Education, peace education programs,

  • Regional initiatives such as the AU Convention on IDPs preceded by a Heads of State Summit on Forced displacement in Africa. International Conference on the Great Lakes region and Regional IDP Protocol

  • RSG Framework for Durable Solutions offers guidance to policy makers

Role of national actors
Role of national actors Africa

  • Primary responsibility for IDPs rests with national authorities since IDPs remain under the jurisdiction of their national governments. See in particular Principle 6 and Principle 28

  • Need for expanded attention to capacity building for national/local authorities

  • Negotiation with non state entities

  • Legislation

  • Public policy

  • Improving accountability

  • Advocacy efforts with a special focus on women and children

Role of international community
Role of international community Africa

  • Lead agency concept

  • Collaborative approach (lack of predictability, accountability, partnership)

  • Cluster approach to improve humanitarian response

  • RSG for the HR of IDPs and the Guiding Principles in 1998.

  • Need to inscribe IDP issues in the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission and other development initiatives

Inputs by the idps
Inputs by the IDPs Africa

  • Focus on vulnerabilities of both IDPs and host communities

  • IDPs and peace processes (research being carried out on the subject by the Brookings Bern Project on Internal Displacement) – “Track one and two Diplomacy” and “People to People Diplomacy”.

Research questions
Research questions Africa

  • Dedicated research on the subject in comparison with refugee programs i.e. what are the similarities, the differences.

  • Case studies from Africa and Asia regions and what they tell notably on coping mechanisms issues