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The Transatlantic Quarterly
Winter/Spring 2005
Deirdre Clancy

Protecting the Vulnerable: Refugee Security in Africa

Since April 2003, conflict and widespread violations of human rights in Darfur in western Sudan have forced over two million people from their homes. Over 70,000 people have been killed as a direct result of the violence and as many as 200,000 are living precariously as refugees in Chad. In September, the UN Security Council (UNSC) charged an international commission of enquiry - in UNSC Resolution 7564 – to investigate "reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur by all parties, to determine also whether or not acts of genocide have occurred."

Amidst allegations that killing and displacement of the civilian population has been a deliberate tactic of the warring parties, ensuring the physical security of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has been extremely difficult. In Chad, tensions between host and refugee communities and military incursions have led to rising insecurity in the camps and attacks on those who venture forth for provisions, or remain in
border areas. In Darfur, not only has aid been unable to keep pace with critical humanitarian needs, but IDPs have suffered continuing attacks and, in some cases, attempts to force them home or relocate them to new camps. As Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights starkly put it on her return from Sudan, "IDPs in Darfur are living in prisons without walls”. (1) Exacerbating the vulnerability of the displaced
are fears that police deployed to safeguard the camps include members of the very militia accused of carrying out the atrocities that forced them into exile.

Read the article here.