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From non-interference to non-indifference: The African Union and the Responsibility to Protect

Kampala - 6 September 2017) IRRI's new report on the African Union and the Responsibility to Protect (r2P), explores how this principle has taken root within the continental union, in the form of non-indifference, providing background on the principle of R2P and on the relevant legal and institutional frameworks of the Organisation of the African Union (OAU) and the African Union (AU).

The paper analyses different cases of intervention under the OAU and the AU and then analyses the challenges for the AU in implementing R2P in the form of non-indifference. First, the conceptual relation between the concepts of R2P and non-indifference is described, followed by the absence of clear triggers for AU action and the lack of clarity about decision-making. Finally, the difficult access to sufficient financial resources and political will among heads of state are identified as key challenges for the AU's role in preventing and addressing atrocities.

Read the full report.

IRRI Rights in Exile Newsletter

Issue 83: July 2017

In this issue:

In support of religious minorities, rule of law, and Lakshan Dias

Relocation and its numbers - Which role for the courts?

Refugees: The Trojan horse of terrorism?

European Commission launches infringement procedures against Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland

Refugees International report details "hell" for refugees and migrants in Libya

Case notes: USA 9th Circuit Court recommends asylum for gay Mexican migrant

OpEd: How to really help refugees, a TedTalk by Asylum Access founder

Read the full issue.

"I fled because I was afraid to die": New IRRI report on Burundian asylum seekers

"I fled because I was afraid to die": Causes of Exile of Burundian Asylum Seekers is IRRI's latest report on rights in exile. Burundian refugees should “return to their homeland, because peace and security prevail on the whole national territory”, Burundi’s second vice-president, Joseph Butore stated during the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees, held in Kampala in June 2017. Then during a recent visit to Tanzania, Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza expressed a similar message to refugees there.

The testimonies, collected from Burundians that arrived in Uganda between March and June 2017, challenge the Burundian government’s official narrative, which urges refugees to “return to their homeland, because peace and security prevail on the whole national territory”. While some are returning to Burundi and there is less open violence, new arrivals in neighbouring countries significantly outnumber the returnees, and all Burundians interviewed for this report said they did not intend to return in the near future. Some came to Uganda, because of the difficult situation for Burundian refugees in Tanzania.

In June 2017, International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) interviewed 30 Burundians who had recently arrived in Uganda, most between April and June. They left Burundi for two main reasons: threats and abuses by members of the Imbonerakure, a youth militia affiliated to the ruling party and killings and enforced disappearances of family members.

Read the full report in English or French, and view the press release.

IRRI urges African Union, Security Council: Extend AMISOM mandate through 2018

(Kampala, 30 August 2017) Members of the UN Security Council should discuss how to strengthen protection of Somali civilians in today’s debate about the mandate renewal of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) said today. In June, IRRI published a report about civilian perspectives on AMISOM, in which those interviewed were highly critical of the peacekeeping mission. Of particular concern was the mission’s perceived failure to protect civilians, the presence and actions of some of the troop-contributing countries and the lack of accountability for abuses committed by peacekeepers. The mission has undergone a joint review by the United Nations and the African Union.

The report highlights that many in Somalia hold views that are very critical of the peacekeeping mission, especially about its failure to protect civilians, about some of the troop-contributing countries and about peacekeeper abuses. Citizens struggled to understand the mission’s mandate and often had difficult relations with the mission.

Many of the Somali’s IRRI interviewed spoke of how the apparent lack of accountability for abuses committed by AMISOM forces, including sexual violence and incidents leading to the deaths of civilians contributed to a negative perception of the mission overall. Yet despite this, abuses and accountability were not mentioned the AU Peace and Security Council decision, on 12 July 2017, to extend AMISOM’s mandate until July 2018.

To read the full report, click here, and for the most recent press release, click here.

Click here to read IRRI's letter to AMISOM.