Refugee Rights News






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Aligning Refugee Policies with Refugee Realities: A Rights in Exile policy paper

IRRI's new policy paper draws on six years of field research in the Great Lakes region, incorporating nine units of field research. Each study focused on the links between citizenship and forced displacement in the Great Lakes region and examined both the differences and the interaction between local and national understandings of belonging.

The paper considers both national and local articulations of belonging that came through the studies, and the extent to which these realities resonate – or fail to resonate – with policy approaches. It points to the need for refugee policy to be bottom up, rather than top-down, something that has long been recognised by practitioners and academics alike but has yet to infuse much programming on the ground. It argues that if refugee policy were to be aligned with the coping mechanisms of refugees (rather than the other way around), mobility and inclusion would become the hallmarks of refugee protection.

For more information, read the full paper here or contact us.

“They Say They’re Not Here to Protect Us”: Civilian perspectives on the African Union mission in Somlia

International Refugees Rights Initiative (IRRI) today launched a report about civilian perspectives on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), whose mandate has been recently renewed. This report is based on interviews with 62 Somalis and is the third in a series on civilian perspectives of peacekeeping forces in Africa.

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.

“The AU and UN should ensure that protection of civilians is a central objective of the AU peace operation and that it has the capacity and resources to do so,” said Andie Lambe, Executive Director of IRRI. “It should go without saying that the AU and the UN should ensure that the voices of citizens who live in the midst of the conflict are taken into account, which unfortunately does not appear to have been the case.”

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

2016 Annual IRRI Report on exile and displacement: Causes, solutions and rights protection

The International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) publishes an annual report on progress made in three focus areas: 

The 2016 report summarizes our work and looks ahead to the coming year. From continued coverage of the crisis in Burundi to bringing international attention to conflict in Sudan, IRRI has increased the visibility of multiple refugee issues.

IRRI also worked to protect rights in exile by publicizing deportation in Europe, Israel and beyond with the Post-Deportation Monitoring Programme. We equipped refugees with information to self-advocate with individual casework and our legal aid online portal.

Finally, IRRI has catalysed policy-level discussions with our reports and recommendations on Dafur, South Sudan, and Somalia. We have seen our suggestions acknowledged and accepted by the UK Foreign Office, UNMISS and the UNHCR. We contributed a chapter to the book Solving Statelessness and published Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging, the result of seven years of research.

To read the full report, click here.

IRRI Submission to the UK Government’s International Development Committee Inquiry into forced displacement and humanitarian responses in Central and East Africa

The International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) is responding to the call for information about humanitarian responses to forced displacement in Central and East Africa. Dedicated to promoting human rights in situations of conflict and displacement and enhancing the protection of vulnerable populations before, during and after conflict, IRRI works to challenge the exclusion and human rights violations that are the root causes of flight; enhancing the protection of the rights of the displaced; and promoting policy solutions enabling the conflict affected to rebuild sustainable lives and communities.

IRRI’s submission1 begins with a critique of two key failed policy responses to refugees in the region. First, the emphasis on encampment of refugees, especially in protracted situations of displacement; and second, the emphasis on repatriation as the favoured (and often only) durable solution. We believe that systemic implementation of UNHCR’s Alternatives to Camps policy would help resolve the deficiencies in both these approaches.2 We then specifically address the question of whether or not conditions for voluntary return for Somali refugees in Kenya are being met; and whether or not there are adequate arrangements for the closure of Dadaab camp. It concludes with some general statements.

To read our full submission, click here.