Refugee Rights News




Renewing the Promise of the International Criminal Court: A Critical Review of the Court’s Role in Promoting Accountability in Africa

November 12 @ 8:00 am - November 13 @ 5:00 pm

The International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), in collaboration with the Pan African Lawyers Union and the International Justice Project (IJP) will hold a conference under the theme “Renewing the Promise of the International Criminal Court: A Critical Review of the Court’s Role in Promoting Accountability in Africa” on 12-13 November 2014 at The Arusha Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.

The two-day conference will take a critical look at the work of the ICC to honestly and robustly assess the Court’s effectiveness, both internally and through its engagement with external justice mechanisms, in pursuing its core values of promoting accountability and addressing the impact of international crimes. These sessions will build on the practical experiences of the IJP in representing victims before the Court and promoting transitional justice measures, research carried out by IRRI on experiences and engagement of various communities in Africa with the ICC, and PALU’s experience in engaging with African institutions on issues of accountability.

To date, there have been various efforts to better understand the frustrations of affected communities and civil society as a whole in Africa, but despite these efforts, deep concerns remain unaddressed, and often unheard, by the Court. These strategy sessions will begin mapping a way forward for activists, scholars, and practitioners to engage both the ICC and other relevant actors to ensure that these concerns are both heard and heeded.

For more info, click here to read IJP event press release.

To confirm your participation, contact either Ms. Olivia Bueno at olivia.bueno@refugee-rights.org or +1-646-301-8938 or Ms. Jana Kaschuba at intern@refugeerights.org or +256 414 340274.

IRRI Rights in Exile Newsletter

a monthly forum for news and discussion on refugee legal aid

Issue 53, November 2014


News on countries of origin
News on countries of asylum
Detention and deportation news


Statelessness averted? Former Burundian refugees to receive Tanzanian citizenship
Refugees face curbs on rights in Western Sahara/Algeria
South African Supreme Court of Appeal upholds appeal in the case of Somali Association of South Africa & 5 Others v LEDET, Minister of Police, Minister of Home Affairs and Others
South Africa will not return Rwandan refugee stating he will face persecution if returned to his country of origin


Immigration detention in the media: anarchy and ambivalence

And much more...

Read the full newsletter.


With camps limiting many refugees, the UNHCR’s policy change is welcome

Posted on 2 October 2014 by Lucy Hovil

It is rare to witness a paradigm shift in refugee protection. But such a shift has just happened with the release of the new policy from the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) on alternatives to refugee camps.

For refugees and their advocates, who have been shouting for years about the perils associated with camps, the policy is almost too good to be true. As it states: “From the perspective of refugees, alternatives to camps means being able to exercise rights and freedoms, make meaningful choices regarding their lives and have the possibility to live with greater dignity, independence and normality as members of communities.”

It makes perfect sense. But why has it taken so long?

For decades, the default response to refugee crises has been to set up camps or settlements and coerce refugees into them. Camps, it was argued, were best suited to meet the social, economic and political realities in which refugees are living.

Yet a significant body of research has demonstrated the exact opposite, pointing to the fact that those refugees who have opted out of the camp system – even when that means forgoing any humanitarian assistance – have established an effective alternative approach to exile.

Read more.

Stop the Bombardment of Innocent Civilians in Darfur, Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Blue Nile

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” (Elie Wiesel)

(8 September 2014) Expressing our alarm and concern with the ongoing bombardment, loss of innocent lives and destruction of properties and livelihood in Darfur, and Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the government of Sudan has dropped over 3,000 bombs since April 2012,

Offering our deepest sympathies to those who lost their lives, those displaced and the millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance, Remembering that the Sudanese government has a history of genocide in the Darfur region,

We concerned Sudanese and international civil society organizations working for Sudan, hereby issue the following statement:

The Government of Sudan is continuously committing major atrocities in avoidable wars in Nuba Mountains/South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur. These conflicts have now affected over six million people.

Read the full letter.