50th anniversary of African unity a chance to make history on Sudan
(22 May 2013) A coalition of over 120 civil society organisations from across Africa and the Middle East today issued a stark warning about the conflict in Sudan, currently affecting over 4.4m people, calling on the African Union to ‘make history’ by supporting a new, bolder and comprehensive approach to peace.
Dr Albaqir Mukhtar, Director of the Al Khatim Adlan Centre for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), said: “The AU has made enormous progress in the past 10 years in finding African solutions to African problems. Yet a solution for instability in Sudan has remained elusive. African leaders must meet this challenge by stepping up and being resolute in efforts to achieve a comprehensive political solution for peace.”
Haggag Nayel, Secretary General of the Arab Coalition for Darfur, said: “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the African Union but also 10 years of devastating conflict in Darfur. Far from ending, the violence in this region is increasing and fuelling further insecurity across the country, with almost 100,000 more people displaced by fighting in the six weeks up to 5th May. The situation is as bad as 2007 when the conflict was thought to be at its height.”
Dismas Nkunda, Co-Chair of the Sudan Consortium, said: “The horrors of Darfur are being replicated in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, with aerial bombardment and ground fighting severely affecting over one million people, of which 700,000 are blocked from receiving international aid. Shockingly, 27,000 people were displaced recently in a single week. The AU must do all it can to halt this terrible crisis and adopt a unified approach to prevent the country’s conflicts from worsening further.”
Read the full coalition statement here.
Just Justice: Civil society, international justice and the search for accountability in Africa
A paper series developed by the International Refugee Rights Initiative in collaboration with local partners in Africa reflecting local perspectives on experiences with international justice. The series is designed to more fully explore perceptions of international justice and the social, political and legal impact of its mechanisms at the local level. It is aimed at opening up a dialogue about the successes and failures of the international justice experiment in Africa and the development of recommendations for a more productive and effective engagement going forward.
The papers in the series are:
Steps Towards Justice, Frustrated Hopes: Reflecting on the Impact of the ICC in Ituri, paper no. 2, March 2012. Lisez la version francaise.
A Poisoned Chalice? Local civil society and the International Criminal Court's engagement in Uganda, paper no. 1, January 2012. Lisez la version francaise.
Just Justice: Civil society, international justice and the search for accountability in Africa, Introductory note to the paper series, January 2012. Lisez la version francaise.
As the African Union celebrates 10 years, new research warns of the “disappearance of Sudan.”
(Addis Ababa, 21 May 2013) A report launched today in Addis Ababa urges Sudan and the African Union (AU) to take a new approach to resolving Sudan’s multiple conflicts and ending the ongoing suffering of its people.
The report by the Kampala-based International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), The disappearance of Sudan? Life in Khartoum for citizens without rights, examines the experiences of Sudan’s conflict affected communities from the perspective of those displaced from the margins to Sudan’s capital Khartoum.
It identifies that at the root of Sudan’s wars and dislocation of its diverse peoples is a crisis of citizenship that must be resolved if the country is to survive.
Launching the paper today prior to the opening of the 21st AU Summit, Dismas Nkunda of IRRI said, “Without the protection of the state – or even the legitimacy to be recognised as being in need of protection – the citizenship of millions of Sudanese is shrinking. So, too, is the reality and legitimacy of the Sudanese state”.
Nkunda pointed out that since the independence of South Sudan and the eruption of new rounds of conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and in Darfur, “talk of secession is gaining greater traction in places where it was never previously on the table.”
In urging the African Union to take a fresh approach to its engagement in Sudan, the report points to the fact that the deliberate exclusion of millions of Sudan’s citizens through violence, war and discrimination, threatens both the existence of its peoples and the existence of Sudan itself. Africa must respond.
Read the full press release here.
Read the full paper here.
“I can’t be a citizen if I am still a refugee”: Challenges in the naturalisation process for Burundians in Tanzania
(4 April 2013) Approximately 162,000 former Burundian refugees in Tanzania are living in legal limbo in Tanzania. Having been accepted for naturalisation and having renounced their Burundian nationality, they are now unable to get certificates confirming their new status. The situation facing this group is the subject of a paper launched by the International Refugee Rights Initiative today, “I can’t be a citizen if I am still a refugee” Former Burundian refugees struggle to assert their new Tanzanian citizenship. The launch follows a discussion of the paper on 19 March at the University of Dar es Salaam attended by representatives from government, the UN, donors, NGOs and the academic community.
Building on research conducted in 2008, the new research conducted in late 2012 asked whether or not naturalisation has translated into genuine citizenship for this group of (former) refugees both legally and practically. Based on 101 interviews with former refugees, local government officials and members of the host community, as well as engagement with national government officials, the findings show that the former refugees are—as a matter of practice—caught somewhere between refugee status and the genuine assertion of their new citizenship. An unprecedented offer has become increasingly caught up in the realities of implementation and realpolitik. While it is important not to detract from the level of generosity of the government of Tanzania’s original offer, the process has revealed a disjuncture between presentation and reality and the whole undertaking appears to be in jeopardy.
With their applications for naturalisation accepted, but without documentation to that effect, the former refugees remain in a legal limbo.
Read the full paper.