Recommendation on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants

We, participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the Work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

Considering that the situation of Migrants, Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa are increasingly more often than not caused by political, social and economic reason;

Noting that the evolving changes in the causes of displacements in Africa are potential threats to further displacement, most especially, the effects of climate change, which has exacerbated the problem of displacement;

Noting that flooding and drought have affected more than 20 million people in East Africa in the last year;

Noting the increase in IDP populations in Africa, which is host to about three (3) million refugees and 13 million IDPs;

Noting that repatriation of refugees as well as resettlement and naturalization of smaller numbers of refugees has contributed to the decrease of refugees;

Noting the increasing violations of the human rights of migrants crossing the North African states to Europe and the Middle East;  implementing bilateral agreements between some European and Middle Eastern countries to prevent the entry of migrants.

Noting that contestation over citizenship and identity has emerged as a root cause of displacement in place such as the situation of Kinyarwanda speakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the continued prohibition of dual nationality, has fuelled continued conflict, as is the case in a number of other African countries;

Applaud the recent use of naturalization by the Tanzanian government to mitigate this state of affairs with the recent announcement that more than 100,000 long staying Burundian refugees have been granted nationality;

Urge the government of Tanzania to ensure that this move successfully promotes their integration by speedily making available the necessary documentation to protect the rights of its new citizens;

Hereby recommend to the African Commission to:

  • progressively work in collaboration with State parties to solve the issue pertaining to IDPs, Refugee, asylum seekers, migrants and stateless persons in Africa and to urge States to embark on political reform and fully respect the principles of good governance, the rule of law and popular participation in the decision making process for the benefit of African citizens;
  • Urge States to ensure equitable distribution of national wealth, reduce poverty and implement sound sustainable development strategies to help mitigate the effects of climate change;
  • Urge State parties to speedily ratify and implement the African Convention on Protection and Assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) as adopted by the African Union Summit of Heads of States and Government on 23rd October 2009, and the Protocols of the International Conference of the Great Lakes region on the protection of IDPs and on the Property Rights of Returning Persons;
  • Encourage The Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees and Migrants to conduct a fact-finding mission to the following countries: Egypt, Libya, Niger, Mauritania, DRC, South Africa, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea to assess the situation of illegal migrants, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons related to xenophobia and discrimination and to ensure that host states comply with the 1969 OAU Convention;
  • Call on African states to respect their local and international obligations on migrants, refugees, asylum seekers as well as IDPs;
  • Commence a process of standard setting on citizenship and nationality in Africa as a long term measure to reduce State abuses of African citizens to guarantee the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed under the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights.

 

Done at Banjul, May 10th, 2010