We, the participants of the NGO FORUM participating at the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and at the 10th African Human Rights Book Fair held in NGOR DIARAMA from the 20th to 22nd November 2004,
Having reviewed the problems of refugees and displaced persons in Africa,
Record our great concern on the extremely precarious political and humanitarian situation, particularly in Darfur (Sudan) and in Côte d’Ivoire (West Africa) which seriously threatens peace and stability in Africa;
Draw the attention of the International Community and that of the African countries on the impact of the “Readmission and Transit” Accords as envisaged in the Convention on the Right to Asylum;
Welcome the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Refugees and Displaced Persons by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and note with satisfaction the measures taken by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights aimed at ensuring more significant protection for refugees and displaced persons in Africa.
Note with particular satisfaction that the Commission has finally accepted this constant and repeated request;
Express our availability and willingness to collaborate closely with the Special Rapporteur and recommend to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights the reinforcement of its mandate by guaranteeing it full autonomy and freedom of action in the execution of its duties;
Recommend to the African Commission to ensure the follow up of the resolutions and decisions taken in the past relative to refugees and displaced persons in Africa;
Recommend to the Commission to pay special attention to the protection of vulnerable groups, notably women and children;
To the African States we recommend:
• The strengthening of the mechanisms of protection of economic, social and cultural rights of refugees and displaced persons;
• The harmonisation of national legislation with international rules of protection of refugees and displaced persons in Africa and request States which have not yet ratified the Convention of 1951 and those of the OAU (AU) of 1969 to do so without delay;
• Finally, the establishment of legal procedures at the national and regional levels for the protection of displaced persons in Africa in order to fill the legal gap which exists in the protection of these groups, even if in times of conflict these displaced persons are accorded the same protection as other civilian victims by the Geneva Conventions, for as it is, no legal text is exclusively devoted for their protection.
Done in Dakar, the 22nd November 2004