Legal and Institutional Dimensions of Protecting and Assisting Internally Displaced Persons in Africa
Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 22, pp. 155-176, June 2009
22 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2010
Date Written: June 1, 2009
Owing partly to changes at the international level and to humanitarian reform within the UN, an internationalization of the problem of internal displacement is now a reality and organizations such as UNHCR are operationally involved in providing assistance and protection to internally displaced persons (IDPs). Regional institutions including peacekeeping and peace building arrangements have become vital institutional responses. Relevant literature and policy guidelines may well be faulted for ignoring the role of regional organizations. In Africa, where a disproportionate number of IDPs are present, strengthening these mechanisms is urgent. This paper traces the normative and institutional evolution of the regional response to internal displacement in Africa, and argues that institution building and consolidation of standards should be made a priority. The African Union’s current effort to craft the first ever binding regional IDP convention, though a salutary development, should not deflect such priority.
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