Although the countries of North Africa are not traditionally seen as great sources of displacement, they have seen their share conflict. It is estimated, for example, that nearly one million Algerians were displaced during that country's internal conflict in the 90s. Egypt continues to host many refugees fleeing Sudan and Somalia's civil wars.
The region is also increasingly becoming a transit zone for immigrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa seeking entrance to Europe, and as Europe tightens its borders, refugees are increasingly finding themselves being forced to seek refuge.
Focus on Darfur
Armed conflict continues to rage in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Already as many as 300,000 people are estimated to have died as a result of the conflict and more than two and a half million have been forced to flee their homes. Despite widespread media attention in the West, the authorisation of the largest ever United Nations (UN) deployment, and the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council, the situation has continued to deteriorate.
The International Refugee Rights Initiative has sought to address this crisis by bringing together the Darfur Consortium, a coalition of more than 50 Africa-based and Africa-focused NGOs dedicated to working together to promote a just, peaceful and sustainable end to the ongoing humanitarian and human rights crisis in Darfur.
The Consortium was founded in September 2004 as concerned NGOs gathered on the fringes of the third extraordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Pretoria, South Africa. The Consortium reflects the perspective of African civil society and provides a forum for unified action, particularly through sustained engagement with the institutions of the African Union. In addition to providing support to Sudanese and Darfurian civil society, to date the Darfur Consortium has engaged in activities aimed at raising awareness about the crisis, monitoring the investigation of the International Criminal Court and advocacy on accountability for serious human rights violations, protection of civilians and the peace process.
Recent publications of the International Refugee Rights Initiative related to the North and the Horn of Africa:
African Commission: Investigate Sudan Killings, November 2013
The long road to Juba for displaced South Sudanese, Matthew Corrigan, July 31, 2012.