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                                                                               May 2005


Europe: fortress or refuge?
  ■ international response to Darfur               ■ articles on Syria, Georgia and Nigeria
  ■ new High Commissioner for Refugees             ■ challenging camp design guidelines
  ■ interview with Walter Kälin                    ■ land rights for refugees

                      published by the Refugee Studies Centre in association
                              with the Norwegian Refugee Council
                                                                                 NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL
          Forced Migration Review
      provides a forum for the regular exchange of
  practical experience, information and ideas between
                                                            from the editors
 researchers, refugees and internally displaced people,     FMR23 focuses on asylum in
and those who work with them. It is published in English,
                                                            Europe but also contains a substan-
Spanish, Arabic and French by the Refugee Studies Cen-
    tre/University of Oxford in association with the        tial number of non-theme articles. You
  Norwegian Refugee Council. The Spanish translation,       will notice some changes to the layout
    Revista de Migraciones Forzadas, is produced by
                   IDEI in Guatemala.
                                                            as we have decided to draw attention
                                                            to some key developments of interest

                                                                                                                                                          Corinne Owen
           Marion Couldrey & Dr Tim Morris                  to the humanitarian community before
           Subscriptions Assistant                          the feature theme section. Articles
                      Sharon Ellis                          highlighted in this issue include reflec-
          Forced Migration Review                           tions on slow progress in providing protection and assistance in Darfur, the process
   Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House,
            21 St Giles, Oxford, OX1 3LA, UK
                                                            of selecting the new head of UNHCR and an interview with Walter Kälin, the UN
                Email:                     Secretary-General’s IDP representative.
  Tel: +44 (0)1865 280700 • Fax: +44 (0)1865 270721

                                                            We are indebted to Dr Heaven Crawley (Director of AMRE Consulting and former
                                                            Associate Director at the UK’s Institute for Public Policy Research) for her invaluable
                                                            assistance in soliciting, selecting and editing the feature theme articles. These explore
              Funders in 2005
                                                            Europe’s slow progress towards a common asylum policy and challenge arguments
                                                            put forward by the anti asylum and immigration lobby.
Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement
               Catholic Relief Services
                                                            Publication and distribution of this issue have been assisted by a grant from
                    Christian Aid                           UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe.

              Danish Refugee Council                        The first issue of our French edition Revue de la migration forcée has been
Department for International Development (UK)               published and welcomed by francophone readers. This issue will also be published
      Feinstein International Famine Center,                in French. Further publication will be funding-dependent. If you are able to suggest
                  Tufts University
                                                            would-be funders we would like to hear from you.
                  Ford Foundation

         International Rescue Committee                     In response to numerous suggestions, we have decided to publish a special FMR
     International Save the Children Alliance               supplement focusing on lessons learned from the tsunami. This supplement
            Lutheran World Federation                       will be distributed in July, printed in and posted from Sri Lanka. We have received
         Norwegian Education Trust Fund                     an excellent range of articles from agencies in all tsunami-affected states and from
            Norwegian Refugee Council                       international organisations and are not looking for further submissions.
         UN Office for the Coordination of
              Humanitarian Affairs
                                                            The theme section of FMR24, to be published in September, will explore pros-
           OCHA’s Inter-Agency Internal
             Displacement Division
                                                            pects for peace in Sudan. We are particularly keen to receive articles – in either
                                                            English or Arabic – from Sudanese authors. Deadline for submission: 15 June.
                      Oxfam GB

      United Methodist Committee on Relief
                                                            For further information about these and other future issues, visit: www.fmreview.

             Witwatersrand University
                                                            With best wishes
             Women’s Commission for
           Refugee Women and Children

                  World Vision UK                           Marion Couldrey & Tim Morris
                  World Vision USA
                                                            Editors, Forced Migration Review

                                                             Copyright and disclaimer
             Designed by Colophon Media.
         Printed by LDI Ltd on environmentally
                                                             Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors or the Refugee
                     friendly paper.                         Studies Centre. Any material from this publication may be freely reproduced, provided that
                                                             acknowledgement is given to the source. We welcome comments on the content and layout
                 ISSN 1460-9819                              of FMR and suggestions on how it could be improved as an information tool.

                                                            Front cover photo: Asylum seekers in Pavshyno detention centre near Mukachevo, Ukraine.
                                                            UNHCR/L Taylor
Interview: Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN                                          Albania – Europe’s reluctant gatekeeper
Secretary-General on the Human Rights of IDPs ........ 4                                   by Ridvan Peshkopia..........................................................35

The international response to Darfur                                                       Europe and the rebuilding of Somalia
by Roberta Cohen ................................................................. 7       by Kithure Kindiki ..............................................................37

Selecting the new High Commissioner for Refugees                                           Chechen refugees denied access to Europe
by Manisha Thomas and Ed Schenkenberg                                                      by Martin Rozumek............................................................39
van Mierop ...........................................................................10

                                                                                           General articles
Speaker’s Corner
                                                                                           Challenges of temporary protection in Syria
Who should drive humanitarian responses?                                                   by Ann Maymann ...............................................................42
by Nick Cater .......................................................................12
                                                                                           IDPs in the new Georgia
Human resources neglected prior to repatriation                                            by Freya von Groote ...........................................................44
by Atle Hetland ...................................................................13
                                                                                           Challenging camp design guidelines
                                                                                           by Jim Kennedy...................................................................46

                                                                                           ‘Restriction of access’ is displacement:
                                                                                           a broader concept and policy
                                                                                           by Michael M Cernea ..........................................................48

                                                                                           Internal displacement in Nigeria: an urgent challenge
                                                                                           by Claudia McGoldrick ......................................................50

                                                                                           Recommendations for urban refugee policy
                                                                                           by Karen Jacobsen and Loren Landau............................52

                                                                                           Regular features
Asylum in Europe feature
                                                                                           Update ..................................................................................53
Introduction: Europe – fortress or refuge?
by Heaven Crawley .............................................................14          UNHCR:
                                                                                           Falling asylum figures: a wake-up call for the EU?
Chequered progress towards a common EU                                                     by Raymond Hall ................................................................54
asylum policy
by Tim Morris ......................................................................17     Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement:
                                                                                           Safeguarding IDP voting rights
Towards the integration of refugees in Europe                                              by Erin Mooney and Balkees Jarrah ...............................55
by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles .......20
                                                                                           Norwegian Refugee Council:
Europe looks to Africa to solve the ‘asylum problem’                                       Norwegian proposal to clarify refugee status
by Heaven Crawley .............................................................23          by Vigdis Vevstad ...............................................................56

Integration and dispersal in the UK                                                        Global IDP Project:
by David Griffiths, Nando Sigona and Roger Zetter ...27                                    25 million IDPs worldwide: no change ..........................57

Is Europe failing separated children?                                                      Refugee Studies Centre:
by Diana Sutton and Terry Smith ...................................29                      Refugee protection: where is the EU heading?
                                                                                           by Maria-Teresa Gil Bazo ..................................................58
Dutch ‘safe zone’ in Angola
by Joris van Wijk ................................................................32       Publications ........................................................................59

Wasted human resources: employers ignore                                                   Endnote:
refugees’ potential                                                                        Land rights: a gift for refugees in West Timor
by Berend Jonker ...............................................................33         by Ingvild Solvang .............................................................60
4                                                                                                                       FMR 23

    Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-
    General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced
    Persons, co-director of the Brookings-Bern Project on
    Internal Displacement, and professor of constitutional
    and international law at Bern University, Switzerland,
    was interviewed by the FMR Editors in February 2005.
    Professor Kälin, in September              2004, which spells out our respective        domestic level should go beyond
    2004 you were appointed the ‘UN            roles. IDD’s main focus is to sup-           general references in legal and policy
    Secretary-General’s Representative         port UN country teams in developing          documents. One of my priorities will
    on the human rights of internally          and implementing a collaborative             be the development of a handbook
    displaced persons’. Your predeces-         response to situations of internal           to show law and policy makers how
    sor, Dr Francis Deng, did not have         displacement; the Global IDP Project         to translate general principles into
    the words ‘human rights’ in his title.     continues to run its database and            specific norms and thereby provide
    Does this indicate a change in the         conduct training on the Guiding Prin-        domestic authorities with detailed
    mandate?                                   ciples; while I focus on advocacy for        guidance on how to develop a na-
                                               the rights of IDPs. Our cooperation          tional legal framework. My hope is
    When Dr Deng’s mandate was creat-          translates into specific actions. For        that this will encourage governments
    ed by the UN Commission on Human           example, I am planning to conduct            to do more to implement the Guiding
    Rights in 1992, there was acknowl-         some country missions jointly with           Principles at the domestic level. This,
    edgement that internal displacement        IDD and, as part of my mandate to            I believe, is the most promising ap-
    was a serious human rights problem         mainstream the human rights of               proach to strengthening the norma-
    but in the absence of a treaty on          IDPs into all relevant parts of the UN       tive framework at a time when the
    the rights of internally displaced         system, I have asked the Global IDP          international community is still not
    persons, or any provision in a human       Project to submit relevant informa-          ready to adopt a binding instrument
    rights convention explicitly guar-         tion on the human rights situation           that accords with the protection level
    anteeing the rights of IDPs, it was        of IDPs to treaty bodies on a regular        set forth in the Guiding Principles.
    almost impossible to assert that IDPs      basis with a hope that those bodies          Of course, this initiative does not
    as such had human rights. Of course,       will address the issue of internal           exclude the possibility of a binding
    as human beings, IDPs when they            displacement more regularly in the           instrument once a sufficient number
    become uprooted do not lose their          future.                                      of states have developed national
    human rights but it was unclear what                                                    policies and laws. It may even be-
    these rights specifically meant in the     As one of the key drafters of the            come possible to first draft a binding
    context of displacement. Since 1998,       Guiding Principles on Internal               instrument at the regional level and
    the Guiding Principles on Internal         Displacement, how would you as-              then eventually to take it up to the
    Displacement have identified the           sess current understanding and use           international level.
    human rights that are of special           of the Principles by governments?
    relevance for IDPs and have spelled        What are the prospects of their
    out, in more detail, what is implicit      wider incorporation into interna-
                                                                                         the challenge is to make [the
    in these guarantees. The change in         tional and national law?                  Guiding Principles] operational
    title of my mandate suggests that
    the concept of the human rights of         The Guiding Principles on Internal           Many international organisations
    IDPs is, at least in principle, accepted   Displacement have increasingly               and NGOs use the Guiding Principles
    today by the international commu-          gained acceptance. Some states, such         but here too the challenge is to
    nity and indicates a certain redirec-      as Angola, Burundi, Colombia, Libe-          make them operational by incorpo-
    tion of the mandate as it puts more        ria, Peru, the Philippines and Sri Lan-      rating them into policies relevant
    emphasis on the protection of the          ka, have included references to the          to displacement and building up
    rights of IDPs.                            Guiding Principles in their domestic         organisational capacities. One very
                                               laws or policies, and others may fol-        important aspect of mainstreaming
    How do you see your work inter-            low. Georgia has revised some of its         the Guiding Principles is to identify
    facing with that of other key IDP          laws that were in contradiction with         their relevance for UN peacekeeping
    actors such as the OCHA Inter-             the Guiding Principles. In Colombia,         and civilian missions in countries
    Agency Internal Displacement               the Constitutional Court has cited           with internal displacement. Despite
    Division (IDD) and the Global IDP          the Guiding Principles as part of            the complexity of such missions and
    Project?                                   the legal framework applicable to            their limited and focused mandates,
                                               cases of displacement. These are all         I feel that more could and must be
    We have complementary mandates             encouraging developments.                    done to integrate the human rights
    and cooperate with each other on the                                                    of IDPs into their activities.
    basis of a tripartite Memorandum of        However, efforts to make the
    Understanding, signed in November          Guiding Principles effective on the
                  FMR 23                                                                             Interview with Walter Kälin           5

                  Many governments, including those      policies to address the situation. Un-   Assembly. Further, the issuance of
                  of states with some of the world’s     dertaking missions to affected coun-     public statements can have effect.
                  highest IDP populations, are still     tries is another important means of      My first public statement, which gar-
                  reluctant to use the term ‘IDP’ or     influencing government policy as it      nered press attention, was on Darfur
                  to protect and assist the displaced    enables the Representative to engage     and protested against the forcible
                  in line with the Guiding Principles.   with a wide range of actors, both        relocation of IDPs. Meetings are also
                  How do you plan to address these       governmental and non-governmen-          valuable in raising consciousness to
                  constraints?                           tal, in discussions about displace-      protection issues and mobilising the
                                                         ment. In April, I will undertake my      different actors to press for change.
                  The Representative has a range of      first full-scale country mission to
                  tools at his disposal. The most evi-   Nepal. In cases where governments        In many parts of the world IDPs
                  dent is persuasion and I have begun    are reluctant to extend an invitation,   live in areas controlled by non-state
                  to engage a number of governments      it may be necessary to engage senior     actors. Can more be done to assist
                  in dialogues on displacement in        UN officials, the Inter-Agency Stand-    and protect them?
                  their countries. From my predeces-     ing Committee and donor govern-
                  sor I have learned that governments,   ments to encourage greater access.       First, it is important to insist that
                  which initially did not acknowledge    The publication of reports can also      governments allow access to areas
                  IDPs in their countries, often came    have impact, since the reports be-       of their countries controlled by non-
                  around through dialogue to recog-      come documents of the Commission         state actors. Even though working
                  nising the problem and to adopting     on Human Rights and the General          with non-state actors in the post
                                                                                                  9/11 world has become especially
                                                                                                  sensitive and complex, concerted
                                                                                                  efforts need to be made by UN agen-
                                                                                                  cies to gain access to IDPs or to work
                                                                                                  with church groups and NGOs to
                                                                                                  reach these populations. It should be
                                                                                                  unacceptable for large numbers of
                                                                                                  IDPs to be inaccessible to interna-
                                                                                                  tional aid, with the result of mas-
                                                                                                  sive loss of life, as was the case in
                                                                                                  Angola and now Darfur. Second, it
                                                                                                  is important to make the non-state
                                                                                                  actors aware of their responsibili-
                                                                                                  ties under international law toward
                                                                                                  IDP populations, so that they do not
                                                                                                  bar access or otherwise violate IDP
                                                                                                  rights. To remind non-state actors
                                                                                                  of their responsibilities toward IDPs,
                                                                                                  seminars on the Guiding Principles
                                                                                                  can be a useful vehicle, such as the
                                                                                                  one held with the SPLM/A in Sudan
                                                                                                  in 2002, organised by UNICEF and
                                                                                                  the Brookings-Bern Project on Inter-
                                                                                                  nal Displacement.

                                                                                                  Isn’t it anomalous that IDPs are not
                                                                                                  represented by a single UN agency,
                                                                                                  analogous to UNHCR? In an ideal
                                                                                                  world, should they be? If so, what
                                                                                                  are the prospects of this happening?

                                                                                                  For the timing being, the UN is
                                                                                                  promoting the so-called ‘collabora-
                                                                                                  tive approach’ which was recently
                                                                                                  reaffirmed by its Inter-Agency
                                                                                                  Standing Committee in a policy
                                                                                                  document entitled ‘Implementing
                                                                                                  the Collaborative Response in Situ-
                                                                                                  ations of Internal Displacement’.
                                                                                                  This approach has its strengths and
                                                                                                  weaknesses. On the one hand, it
                                                                                                  makes sure that all agencies share
                                                                                                  the responsibility of responding to
                                                                                                  the worldwide crisis of displace-
                                                                                                  ment which is probably too big for
                                                                                                  one single agency to deal with, and
UNHCR/P Benatar

                                                                                                  Hazara IDPs from Bamyan, Afghanistan.
6   Interview with Walter Kälin                                                                                      FMR 23
    it has the potential of drawing upon       I agree with those who say that          and become largely forgotten despite
    the multitude of experiences and           the collaborative approach has not       the hopelessness and abject poverty
    specialised knowledge of each of           worked well in Darfur. By contrast,      in which they live. Each situation
    the agencies. On the other hand, the       it has been successful in the case of    has its unique features and there are
    collaborative approach makes it very       the tsunami disaster. The problem in     no easy recipes for the UN. How-
    difficult to hold an agency account-       Darfur was that the collaborative ap-    ever, public relations campaigns are
    able if IDPs are neglected, and it fails   proach allowed agencies to say “no”      needed to shine the spotlight on
    if none of the agencies assumes a          to playing specific roles, especially    forgotten crises. So too is a better in-
    leadership role or if others contest       in the area of protection, and gave      tegration of IDP issues into the poli-
    that role. Even in an ideal world it       the government the possibility to        cies and guidelines of the different
    is difficult to imagine one single         opt for solutions that it found the      international agencies as well as the
    agency that would be able to respond       least threatening. Despite this slow     engagement of the donor community
    effectively to the needs of all IDPs,      and tortuous beginning, the Secre-       in bringing attention to these situa-
    including those displaced by natural       tary-General reported to the Security    tions. Steps also should be taken to
    or human-made disasters or develop-        Council in March that the numbers        involve political actors in addressing
    ment projects, to address protracted       of human rights observers and staff      the root causes of these crises and to
    situations where development may           “working on protection issues”           help build capacities at the local level
    become more relevant than humani-          have increased. However, the total       to address them more effectively.
    tarian issues, or to make sure that        remains less than 100 and not all
    IDPs can vote when elections are           have the training needed to carry out    For several years FMR has played
    conducted with the involvement of          protection functions effectively.        a role in drawing attention to IDP
    the UN. What we need are clear rules                                                issues and publicising the GPs. Do
    to establish which agency would do         Darfur has been high on the inter-       you have any thoughts on how we
    what and in what kinds of situa-           national media agenda but what           may better do so?
    tion. For example, it is obvious that      other hidden or forgotten crises
    UNHCR is the organisation with the         concern you? And how should the          I have read FMR for a long time and
    most experience and capacity to pro-       UN and international community be        am impressed by the relevance of the
    tect and assist persons displaced by       responding?                              topics chosen and the high quality
    armed conflict who are in camps or                                                  of contributions. Your circulation of
    to organise IDP returns in safety and      There are many forgotten crises and      the magazine in Spanish and Arabic
    dignity after the end of the conflict.     it is difficult to rank them accord-     and your recent decision to add a
    Indeed, it is difficult to understand      ing to their seriousness. The figures    French version are important steps
    why there should not be at least a         and protection needs of displaced        to making your information avail-
    presumption that the High Commis-          persons in DRC and northern Uganda       able to a wider readership. Many
    sioner for Refugees should assume          certainly reach those in Darfur or       of the articles are important tools
    responsibility in such situations.         even surpass them. In Somalia, where     for researchers, students, activ-
                                               there is no functioning government,      ists, governments and international
    Critics argue that the IDD, OHCHR          IDPs are largely forgotten and aid       agencies – and a long time after their
    and UNHCR have played, or been             often cannot reach them because          publication. An electronic archive
    allowed to play, only a minor role         they are in regions inaccessible to      organised around main themes, with
    in the ongoing Darfur crisis. They         the international community. Large       titles of relevant articles immediately
    suggest that response to the IDP           numbers of IDPs are also off limits      visible and easily retrievable, would
    crisis in Darfur only confirms that        in Burma. There are, in addition,        be helpful.
    the UN’s ‘collaborative approach’ is       protracted situations of displace-
                                                                                        Walter Kälin
    failing IDPs, especially as regards        ment, like in the South Caucasus
    protection. Are these criticisms           where large numbers of IDPs remain
    fair?                                      displaced for more than a decade

                                               on GCIM website to        that we take full account of gender
       Global Migration and                    all network subscribers, incorpo-       issues: not only the situation of mi-
       Gender Network                          rating links to relevant documents,     grant women but also the way that
                                               news of forthcoming conferences         migration affects men and children
       Following a recent workshop on                                                  and changes relationships within
                                               and publications, book reviews and
       the gender dimensions of interna-                                               the family. I very much welcome
                                               opinion pieces. The first edition of
       tional migration, the Global Com-                                               the establishment of the Global
                                               the newsletter will also contain the
       mission on International Migration                                              Network on Gender and Migration,
                                               report of the workshop.
       (GCIM) has established a Global                                                 which should provide a dynamic
       Migration and Gender Network. Its       To subscribe and/or contribute to       new means for us to share informa-
       purpose is to enable practitioners      the Network, please email Rebekah       tion and ideas on this important
       and researchers to share informa-       Thomas at              topic.”
       tion and ideas on this issue on a
       regular basis.                          “To understand the reality of           (Mary Robinson, Executive Direc-
                                               international migration and to be       tor, Realising Rights: The Ethical
       The new Network will circulate a        able to advocate more effectively       Globalisation Initiative)
       regular e-newsletter (also available    for migrant rights, it is essential
                    FMR 23                                                                                                                                 7

                    The international response to Darfur
                                                                                                                    by Roberta Cohen

                    Darfur is regularly debated by the UN Security Council,                       to be raped searching for firewood
                                                                                                  outside the camps while those inside
                    African Union forces have been deployed and some 9,000                        remain totally dependent on interna-
                    humanitarian workers are trying to help over two million                      tional aid.

                    displaced people. Clearly, Darfur cannot be described as                      Being on the world agenda has not

                    a ‘forgotten emergency’. Why, then, does fighting persist                      yet led to meaningful steps to end
                                                                                                  the fighting or even adequately to
                    and the needs of many of the uprooted go unmet?                               address the needs of those uproot-
                                                                                                  ed. So what is it that has impeded

                            undreds are still dying each   the ranks of the 2.4 million already   the international response, and what
                            day in Darfur from starva-     internally displaced and the 200,000   positive elements can be identified
                            tion, disease and violence.    refugees in Chad. Government mili-     that can be built upon in responding
                    With fighting continuing between       tary attacks continue on black Afri-   to this and future emergencies?
                    rebel forces and government troops,    can farming communities and on IDP
                    more and more people are being         camps, supported by the Janjaweed      One reason the international com-
                    driven from their homes, joining       militia. Women and girls continue      munity finds the Darfur problem dif-
                                                                                                  ficult to address is that state reliance
                                                                                                  on excessive force against ethnic or
                                                                                                  racial groups seeking greater autono-
                                                                                                  my is not unique to Sudan. Other
                                                                                                  governments bent on maintaining
                                                                                                  the dominance of a particular ethnic
                                                                                                  group have also waged brutal wars
                                                                                                  against their own populations. The
                                                                                                  Russian Federation, for example, has
                                                                                                  conducted a scorched earth cam-
                                                                                                  paign against the Chechens. A veto-
                                                                                                  wielding permanent member of the
                                                                                                  Security Council, Russia has opposed
                                                                                                  diplomatic pressure or sanctions
                                                                                                  against the Sudanese government for
                                                                                                  fear of setting a precedent.

                                                                                                  A second reason for the lack of
                                                                                                  strong international response is
                                                                                                  the absence of tools and struc-
                                                                                                  tures available to the international
                                                                                                  community to address internal
                                                                                                  crises. Other than the International
                                                                                                  Committee of the Red Cross, which
                                                                                                  is often denied entry into internal
                                                                                                  strife situations, there exists no
                                                                                                  international machinery readily
                                                                                                  available to protect civilians caught
                                                                                                  up in violence within their own coun-
                                                                                                  tries. There is a Genocide Conven-
                                                                                                  tion1 but there are no international
                                                                                                  mechanisms for preventing genocide
                                                                                                  or mass killings and no enforcement

                                                                                                  Only during the last decade of the
                                                                                                  20th century did the international
                                                                                                  community become involved in try-
                                                                                                  ing to assist and protect persons up-
                                                                                                  rooted and at risk within their own
                                                                                                  countries. International involvement
                                                                                                  IDP mother and duaghter return from collecting wood in
UNHCR/Helene Caux

                                                                                                  the bush, outside Manjura camp, Darfur.
8   The international response to Darfur                                                                            FMR 23
    with internally displaced persons         a 40% share in the international          All these factors have worked to
    (IDPs) is therefore still ad hoc and      consortium extracting oil in Sudan.6      enfeeble the international response.
    fledgling. While there is a Represen-     China has abstained on resolutions        It took more than a year for the
    tative of the UN Secretary-General        threatening sanctions against Sudan,      Security Council to adopt a resolu-
    on the human rights of internally         in particular against its petroleum       tion on Darfur, which it finally did
    displaced persons it is a voluntary       sector, and threatened to use its veto    in July 2004. No sanctions were in-
    position and the small internal dis-      against resolutions if they were too      troduced until March 2005 and then
    placement division within the Office      strong.                                   only symbolic ones (travel bans and
    for the Coordination of Humanitari-                                                 asset freezes) even though Sudan
    an Affairs (OCHA) is non-operational.     The US and the EU have also had           had failed to halt attacks against its
    On the ground, there are increasing       reasons to avoid confrontation with       civilian population or to disarm and
    numbers of international humani-          Sudan. Even though the US did initi-      prosecute the Janjaweed. More-
    tarian organisations and NGOs that        ate action in the Security Council,       over, abstentions by China, Algeria,
    provide material aid to IDPs but little   it feared, like the EU, that pressing     Pakistan and Russia weakened the
    in the way of protection of IDPs’         the Sudanese government too far on        authority of the resolutions.
    physical security and human rights.2      Darfur could jeopardise the peace
    In Darfur, an area the size of France,    agreement about to be finalised be-       Nonetheless, some positive features
    the Secretary-General reports only        tween north and south. The US had         have emerged from the crisis. Dip-
    26 international staff with protection    invested heavily in the peace process     lomatic pressure, when exerted, has
    responsibilities and 16 human rights      and did not want to give any excuse       produced results. Visits to Darfur by
    observers.3                               to Sudan to walk away from it. Sudan      Secretary-General Kofi Annan and
                                              played this card skillfully, using the    US Secretary of State Colin Powell in
    By and large, the international           progress it made in the north-south       July 2004 led the Khartoum regime
    community can be relied upon to           peace process to deflect attention        to significantly, but not entirely,
    respond effectively to famines or to      from the situation in Darfur.             lift restrictions on humanitarian
    natural disasters. In cases of geno-      A further impediment to robust            organisations – they still lack access
    cide, large-scale massacres or ‘ethnic    action is the secondary status of         to some 500,000 IDPs. The govern-
    cleansing’, as in Darfur, international   Africa itself. By and large, western      ment also allowed entry to interna-
    action is dependent on whether            governments do not consider it to be      tional human rights monitors and to
    states consider it in their interests     in their national or strategic inter-     the UN team investigating whether
    to take the risks required. In 1999       est to take the political, financial or   genocide had occurred. Furthermore,
    the UN Secretary-General spoke of a       military risks needed to stop killings    the government resumed talks with
    “developing international norm in fa-     on the African continent. While they      the Darfur rebels, under the auspices
    vour of intervention to protect civil-    readily denounce the atrocities and       of the African Union (AU) although
    ians from wholesale slaughter”4 and       provide generous humanitarian help,       little progress has been made. More
    a recent high-level UN panel talks of     the costs of becoming involved in         pressure is needed now, ideally from
    an international “responsibility to       trying to stop the killings are consid-   countries like China and members
    protect”5 but in fact only in a small     ered too high.                            of the Arab League as well as from
    number of cases has the Security                                                    the US.
    Council authorised the use of force       US threats to veto any Security
    to protect IDPs and other civilians at    Council resolution referring
    risk. Nor is there any international      war crimes in Darfur to the     The role played by the AU offers promise
    enforcement machinery, whether a          ICC – only lifted at the end
    standby police force or a rapid reac-     of March – deadlocked the Security        The role played by the AU, if devel-
    tion military force, to protect IDPs      Council. Moreover, fallout from the       oped to its full potential, also offers
    in camps or on return home. There         US invasion of Iraq has had signifi-      promise. With the international com-
    is not even assurance that perpetra-      cant impact. Although Iraq was not        munity unwilling to act, the AU came
    tors of crimes against humanity in        occupied for humanitarian or human        forward to try to stop the violence
    Darfur will be prosecuted before the      rights reasons, the Bush Administra-      in its own region. After helping to
    International Criminal Court (ICC)        tion fell back on this rationale when     negotiate the April 2004 ceasefire
    despite a Security Council resolution     no weapons of mass destruction            between the Darfur rebels and
    referring such cases to the court.        could be found. US expressions of         the government, the AU deployed
                                              concern about Darfur have therefore       several hundred unarmed observ-
    Wider interests stymie                    been met with much scepticism in          ers to monitor it. When the fighting
                                                                                        continued, the AU deployed armed
    humanitarian intervention                 the Arab and Muslim worlds and
                                              encouraged speculation that the US        peacekeepers to protect the moni-
                                              was preparing to invade another           tors and then expanded the numbers
    The geopolitical concerns of Security
                                              Islamic state. The whole idea of          to be sent in and the mandate itself
    Council members constitute a fur-
                                              humanitarian intervention to protect      so that its police and troops could
    ther impediment to strong action. Al-
                                              civilians in Darfur was undermined        increase security for IDP camps and
    geria and Pakistan, which have close
                                              by the US action in Iraq, even though     IDP returns, and protect civilians
    political ties to Arab and Islamic
                                              the situation in Darfur had deterio-      under ‘imminent threat’. Rwanda’s
    governments, have worked to delay
                                              rated to the point where humanitar-       President, Paul Kagame, even an-
    and weaken international action on
                                              ian intervention should have been an      nounced publicly that Rwandan
    Darfur. As the main foreign investor
                                              option to consider.                       troops would not stand by if civilians
    in Sudan’s oil industry, China holds
                                                                                        were attacked.
                   FMR 23                                                                       The international response to Darfur                           9

                                                                                                        a whole and the racial composition
                                                                                                        of those who view themselves as
                                                                                                        Arab.7 Enabling Sudan to reflect its
                                                                                                        diversity is one sure way of resolving
                                                                                                        the Darfur crisis and bringing the
                                                                                                        displaced home.

                                                                                                        The continuing violence in Darfur
                                                                                                        makes it abundantly clear that
                                                                                                        there is a long way to go before
                                                                                                        an international system to protect
                                                                                                        people caught up in violence in their
                                                                                                        own countries can be put in place.
                                                                                                        Nonetheless, there are elements to
                                                                                                        build on.

                                                                                                        Greater attention should be paid to
                                                                                                        strengthening the AU and support-
                                                                                                        ing a role for it in promoting the
                                                                                                        security of IDPs on the continent
                                                                                                                                                             UNHCR protection
                                                                                                        – a step not only important for
                                                                                                                                                             assistant, Rihab
                                                                                                        Darfur but for the more than 12
UNHCR/K McKinsey

                                                                                                                                                             Kamal, talks with
                                                                                                        million IDPs in Africa. Governments                  displaced Masselit
                                                                                                        and civil society around the world                   woman, Riyadh
                                                                                                        whose voices have been influential                   IDP camp, El
                                                                                                        on Darfur should now press for the                   Geneina, West
                                                                                                        expansion of the north-south peace                   Darfur.

                   At the same time, AU forces have          Another development worth noting           agreement to Darfur and oppose
                   done little in fact to protect IDPs       is the attention being paid to politi-     the going forward of any economic
                   because the Sudanese government           cal solutions to the crisis. Whereas       aid and investment or debt relief
                   has opposed an AU protection role         in most humanitarian emergencies           for Sudan’s government until the
                   and the AU mandate is insufficiently      the main focus of the international        conflict and displacement currently
                   strong. Nor does the AU have ad-          effort is to deliver aid, in this crisis   overwhelming western Sudan are
                   equate resources or staff to do the       international pressure brought about       brought to an end.
                   job. To date, it has been able to field   a north-south peace agreement in
                   only 2,300 monitors, troops and           January 2005, which could provide          Roberta Cohen is co-director of the
                   police to Darfur but even the 7,700       the basis for addressing the conflict      Brookings-Bern Project on Internal
                   intended would be far too small for       in Darfur. The north-south agree-          Displacement (
                   an area which, experts say, needs as      ment provides for power and wealth         fp/projects/idp/idp.htm). Email:
                   many as 50,000. The organisation          sharing between the government and
                   has few aircraft or vehicles to trans-    southern black African tribes with
                   port its police and troops and insuf-     annexes extending to ethnic groups         The next issue of FMR will focus on
                   ficient communications equipment,         in Abyei, the Nuba Mountains and           Sudan. Deadline for submissions:
                   tents, boots and other basic equip-       the southern Blue Nile. Certainly,         15 June.
                   ment. Western and other countries         an annex could be negotiated for
                   have tended to exaggerate the capa-       Darfur. Moreover, southern Suda-           text.htm
                   bility of the AU because they do not      nese leader John Garang, soon to           2. See interview with Walter Kälin on page 4
                   want to become involved in a more         become Vice President, has promised        and Protect or Neglect: Toward A More Effective
                                                                                                        United Nations Approach to the Protection of
                   robust way. Nonetheless, they have        to promote a fair and just settlement      Internally Displaced Persons, Brookings-SAIS
                   pledged funds and logistical support      in Darfur.                                 Project on Internal Displacement and the Internal
                                                                                                        Displacement Division, OCHA, 2004. www.brook.
                   and are also airlifting AU troops into
                   Darfur, albeit slowly. This combina-      The agreement, if carried out, should      3. Report of the Secretary-General to the Security
                   tion of regional involvement backed       move Sudan in the direction of             Council on the Sudan, S/2005/140, 4 March
                                                                                                        2005, para.26.
                   up by international support has           becoming a multi-ethnic, multi-ra-         4.
                   the potential to become a more            cial and multi-religious society, an       19990920.sgsm7136.html
                   viable permanent arrangement for          important development given that           5. A more secure world: Our shared responsibil-
                                                                                                        ity, Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level
                   responding to conflict and displace-      more than 50% of Sudan’s popula-           Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, United
                   ment in Africa. Regional involve-         tion is black African. Francis Deng,       Nations, 2004
                                                                                                        6. Peter S Goodman,‘China Invests Heavily in
                   ment, moreover, has proved a more         former Representative of the Secre-
                                                                                                        Sudan’s Oil Industry’, Washington Post, December
                   palatable arrangement for the Suda-       tary-General on Internally Displaced       23, 2004.
                   nese government than international        Persons, and a southern Sudanese,          vestsHeavily23December2004.htm
                                                                                                        7. See FMR22,
                   forces. Still, matters have reached       has noted that the efforts of the rul-     FMR22/FMR2225.pdf
                   such a pass that bringing in interna-     ing Arab-Islamic minority to depict
                   tional peacekeepers to bolster the AU     Sudan as an Arab Muslim country
                   forces is now being considered.           distorts realities of the country as
10                                                                                                            FMR 23

     Selecting the new High
     Commissioner for Refugees
                                                   by Manisha Thomas and Ed Schenkenberg van Mierop
     Dogged by allegations of sexual harassment, Ruud Lubbers resigned as head of
     UNHCR in February 2005. The UN Secretariat is to be commended for a new
     approach to recruitment but concerns remain about the level of transparency and the
     future relevance of the agency.

               hen High Commissioner
               Ruud Lubbers resigned,
               Fred Eckhard, spokesman
     for the UN Secretary-General, prom-
     ised that the process of selecting a
     new UNHCR head would be “trans-
     parent and rapid”. Mark Malloch
     Brown, the UN Secretary-General’s
     Chef de Cabinet, wrote to a number
     of NGOs, including the Interna-
     tional Council of Voluntary Agencies
     (ICVA), asking them to suggest can-
     didates. Within a month, a short list
     of eight candidates was announced.                                                                                   Left: António
                                                community on the candidates will    were invited to respond and their
     Several of the criteria set out by                                                                                   Right: Ruud
                                                be sought informally”. Despite      responses have been published.
     the Secretary-General’s office             ICVA asking for clarification on    Among the issues to which attention
     reflected qualifications that ICVA         how their views would be sought,    was drawn were the following:
     had highlighted as important during        it remains unclear if such a pro-
     the process of selecting the High          cess was undertaken.                ■ Falling numbers of refugees
     Commissioner for Refugees (HCR)                                                  and asylum seekers. Some argue
     in 2000.1 These included experience     ■ UNHCR staff seem not to have           that the agency dug its own grave
     of managing complex organisations,        been asked their opinions as to        when it reported recently that
     understanding of basic refugee law        what kind of a leader they would       2004 had seen the lowest number
     and knowledge of ongoing debates          like.                                  of asylum seekers in industri-
     around voluntary and forced migra-                                               alised countries since 1988.
     tion and IDPs. The UN’s clarification   ■ It was unclear whether the short-
     of required skills2 and willingness       listed candidates met agreed         ■ The migration management
     to consult with the NGO community         criteria and the extent to which       agenda. What should UNHCR
     in making a major appointment this        member states’ interests and           do as states throw refugees and
     time around were highly welcome.          horse-trading shaped the short-        asylum seekers into the same
                                               list. Not all of the short-listed      ‘migration’ basket?
     While there has been great progress       candidates seemed to meet all of
     made since the sudden appoint-            the criteria set out in the letter   ■ Convention Plus and the High
     ment of Ruud Lubbers took the             requesting candidates to be put        Commissioner’s Forum. Will
     international community by surprise       forward.                               these initiatives – launched by
     in 2000, there are still a number of                                             Lubbers – succeed in combining
     issues that remain of concern:          ■ ICVA received no details why only      protection with solutions?
                                               one of its three nominated candi-
     ■ There was never any indication          dates was short-listed.              ■ Restrictive state policies. UNHCR
       of how many candidates were put                                                must respond to governments
       forward in total.                     ■ The expected timetable for             that are determined to keep
                                               interviews and appointment has         asylum seekers away from their
     ■ It is unclear if there was a pro-       not been adhered to. António           borders and tackle the xenopho-
       cedure for giving refugees a say        Guterres was announced as the          bic prejudices they have often
       in the selection of the person          new HCR only on 24 May.                helped to feed.
       charged with ensuring that they
       receive international protection.     In ICVA’s newsletter, Talk Back,       ■ Protection challenges. Rhetoric
       The Secretary-General’s office        issues central to the future role of     about protection and assistance
       said that “the views of the refugee   UNHCR were highlighted, candidates       being two sides of the same coin
FMR 23                                                  Selecting the new High Commissioner for Refugees                               11

   cannot disguise the fact that,           tection mandate and IOM’s prag-      António Guterres’ vision for the
   magically, the sides of the coin         matically oriented service areas     future of UNHCR is at www.icva.
   are often rolling in two differ-         may clash relate to the asylum-      ch/cgi-bin/
   ent directions. The separation           migration nexus and repatriation     363#guterres
   between UNHCR’s Department               movements. The new HCR needs
   of Operational Support (DOS)             to be prepared to challenge IOM’s    Manisha Thomas is the Policy
   and the Division of International        policies and programmes.             Officer and Ed Schenkenberg van
   Protection (DIP) must be bridged.                                             Mierop the Coordinator of the
   Without strong leadership to          ■ Zero tolerance of sexual abuse.       International Council of Voluntary
   instil such a culture of protection     The ability to respond to alle-       Agencies. Emails:;
   within the organisation, there will     gations with independent and
   continue to be a false dichotomy        confidential investigations must
   between the delivery of assistance      be ensured in order to guarantee      Talk Back is online at
   and protection by UNHCR staff.          that those who have been abused
                                           or exploited are not afraid to        1.
■ UNHCR’s role in protecting IDPs.         come forward.
  UNHCR, along with other humani-                                                2. “The criteria that these candidates will be
                                         ■ UNHCR’s role in supervising the       evaluated against at interview will include: strong
  tarian organisations, has been                                                 diplomatic, political and fund-raising skills;
                                           1951 Refugee Convention. While
  involved in elaborating the collab-                                            thorough knowledge of refugee issues, includ-
                                           many states are wary of being         ing basic refugee law and debates about forced
  orative approach to IDPs yet there
                                           supervised in the fulfilment of       migration and internally displaced persons;
  is much confusion over UNHCR’s                                                 proven skills in the management of complex
                                           their responsibilities under the
  role. Guidelines are sufficiently                                              organizations; a leader who will unflinchingly
                                           Convention, there is a need to        champion the cause of refugees, understand and
  vague so that UNHCR can do
                                           ensure that states are living up      respect basic refugee law and the rapidly evolv-
  anything or nothing with regard                                                ing debates about voluntary and forced migration
                                           to those obligations. UNHCR’s
  to IDPs as it suits the agency.                                                and internally displaced persons; and possesses
                                           responsibility in fulfilling this     the communication and coalition-building skills
  The new HCR will need to quickly                                               to create consensus and stimulate effective cam-
                                           function is one that has been
  elaborate a clearer and more ef-                                               paigns”.
                                           rather narrowly interpreted to        db050324.doc.htm
  fective policy on IDPs, an urgency
                                           date. If UNHCR protection reports
  heightened by the fact that the In-                                            3. The short-listed candidates were: Emma Bonino
                                           make note of violations of the
  ter-agency Internal Displacement                                               (member of the European Parliament); Hans
                                           Refugee Convention, they are not      Dahlgren (Sweden’s State Secretary for Foreign
  Division will report later this year
                                           currently made public and it is       Affairs); Gareth Evans (former Australian Foreign
  on how the collaborative response                                              Minister); António Guterres (former Prime Min-
                                           unclear how far UNHCR takes up
  is working.                                                                    ister of Portugal); Søren Jessen-Petersen (Danish
                                           issues of concern with states.        head of the UN Interim Administration Mission
                                                                                 In Kosovo); Bernard Kouchner (former French
■ Threats to humanitarian space in                                               Minister of Health); Kamel Morjane (Tunisian,
                                         All short-listed candidates3 re-
  conflict situations. The humani-                                               Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees) and
                                         sponded to ICVA and their replies       Mark Verwilghen (Belgian Minister of Economy,
  tarian agenda of UNHCR must be                                                 Energy, Foreign Trade and Scientific Politics).
                                         were published in Talk Back (7-2 and
  pushed forcefully in the midst
                                         7-2a). We provided such a forum in
  of competing security and geo-
                                         the hope that the stakeholders of
  political agendas and the increas-
                                         UNHCR would be able to get a better
  ing trend within the UN to try to
                                         idea of who the candidates are and
  merge political, humanitarian,
                                         in the hope that the views of the
  human rights and development
                                         candidates would help to inform the
  agendas into integrated missions.
                                         final process of selecting the next
                                         High Commissioner.                        The International Council of Vol-
■ Collaboration with NGOs.
                                                                                   untary Agencies (ICVA), founded in
  UNHCR is unique within the UN          António Guterres will have to             1962, is a global network of human
  system for efforts it has made         face the challenge that has always        rights, humanitarian, and devel-
  over the years to work with NGOs.      plagued UNHCR: is it an organisation      opment NGOs, which focuses its
  However, it is one thing to have       for refugees or for states? Challeng-     information exchange and advocacy
  policies and meetings about part-      ing states on their responsibilities      efforts primarily on humanitar-
  nership and another to operation-                                                ian affairs and refugee issues.
                                         to refugees and asylum seekers in
  alise partnerships on a daily basis                                              ICVA attempts to influence policy
                                         order to ensure effective and quality
  in a way that does not treat NGOs                                                and practice to reflect humanitar-
                                         protection must be one of the HCR’s       ian principles and human rights
  as mere implementers.                  top priorities. The position of High      through information exchange and
                                         Commissioner requires the ability         advocacy.
■ Relations with the International       to balance the interests of refugees
  Organization for Migration             and the interests of states. Without      For further information or to
  (IOM). UNHCR-IOM clashes over          the support of states, UNHCR can-         enquire about membership, please
  approaches and strategies have                                                   contact: ICVA, 26-28 avenue
                                         not survive as its budget depends
  become more common, particu-                                                     Giuseppe Motta, 1202 Geneva, Swit-
                                         on states agreeing to the agency’s
  larly in Darfur. IOM involvement                                                 zerland. Tel: +41 (0)22 950 9600.
                                         programmes. If António Guterres           Fax: +41 (0)22 950 9609. Email:
  in Darfur has had significant          caters too much to states’ interests, To receive Talk
  protection implications, a role for    the result could be a situation where     Back, please email
  which it is totally unequipped.        refugees suffer at the expense of         with “subscribe” in the subject line.
  Other areas where UNHCR’s pro-         political interests and priorities.
12                                                                                                                    FMR 23

     Who should drive human-
     itarian responses?                                                                                      by Nick Cater
     From refugee flows to earthquake relief, it is invariably                            The meeting agreed to establish a
                                                                                         Centre for Humanitarian Action as
     local groups which are on the humanitarian frontline.                               an African-led think tank, research
                                                                                         centre and information exchange
     Should international agencies reinvent themselves as                                on issues around humanitarian and
     solidarity and advocacy networks and start letting                                  natural disasters. It intends to facili-
                                                                                         tate communication between African
     Southern NGOs take the lead?                                                        humanitarian agencies and their

            rateful for fully-funded ap-       international agencies might have         international counterparts, advise
            peals and gushing media            argued that there was a dearth of in-     African NGOs on how to mobilise
            coverage, hundreds of inter-       digenous NGOs, civil society is grow-     new and additional resources, and
     national agencies have descended on       ing fast and taking on tasks ranging      work to enhance good governance
     tsunami-affected countries.1 This is      from AIDS awareness to agricultural       and management within Africa’s
     despite the fact that in the main the     extension advice. African NGOs now        humanitarian sector.
     region has functioning governments,       have experience in running refu-
     military forces and emergency             gee camps, providing psychosocial         Many delegates expressed a deep
     services, active Red Cross and Red        counselling, administering feeding        sense of frustration at the foot-
     Crescent Societies, extensive faith       programmes and much more.                 dragging reluctance of the North to
     networks and countless local NGOs                                                   allow African NGOs the resources
     and community groups.                     African NGO symposium                     to get on with the job to which they
                                                                                         are committed. The final resolution
     It is part of the standard rhetoric of    While the inter-governmental initia-      urged donors to channel at least 25%
     international aid agencies that they      tive on good humanitarian donor-          of humanitarian aid through local
     have long-standing local partners.        ship launched in Stockholm in 2003        NGOs, with a minimum of 10% of
     It is an indictment of past practice      seems to be making limited prog-          grants for overheads rather than the
     and lack of trust that so few felt able   ress2, representatives of hundreds of     unsustainable 5% often on offer from
     simply to send their partners some        African NGOs gathered in December         UNHCR and other funders.
     of the cash that flowed so speedily       2004 in Addis Ababa to discuss their
     into their coffers. When expatriate       future. They came at the invitation       The proliferation of international
     staff flew in, they found indigenous      of the African Union and one of           aid agencies and the emergence of
     organisations, temples, churches,         the continent’s leading indigenous        new donors – with sets of complex
     mosques, local businesses and dias-       relief agencies, Africa Humanitarian      reporting requirements to add to the
     pora-funded do-gooders getting to         Action (AHA). Founded in the wake         existing burden of recipient NGOs
     work almost everywhere.                   of the Rwanda genocide by Dr Dawit        – is denying emerging civil society
                                               Zawde, a former President of the          the space, funding and staff to thrive
     From Sudan to Sri Lanka, interna-         Ethiopian Red Cross Society, AHA          and grow. Chances of delivering
     tional aid appears caught in a time       now has offices, trustees and sup-        local, appropriate, immediate and
     warp, unable to notice the funda-         porters across the continent.             cost-effective assistance for dis-
     mental changes underway in the                                                      placed people are being lost. There
     skills, capacities and aspirations of     In a positive sign that some donors       is an almost predatory link between
     the rapidly expanding number of           and major agencies are listening to the   the South’s calamities and Northern
     local and regional NGOs. The latter       concerns of grassroots organisations,     agencies’ need for a ‘good disaster’
     are eager to play their full role in      the Addis Ababa symposium was             to grab media attention and fund-
     disasters, development and advocacy       supported by the Japan International      ing for their salaries, perks, plane
     and are only held back by a lack of       Cooperation Agency, the Swedish In-       tickets, hotels, four-wheel drives,
     sustained funding and resultant           ternational Development Agency, the       satphones and interpreters.
     difficulties in retaining trained staff   UN Economic Commission for Africa,
     due to higher salaries on offer else-     the International Planned Parenthood      It is clearly in everyone’s interest to
     where. Even in Africa, where once         Federation and UNHCR.                     have a fully-funded, well functioning
FMR 23                                                                                                  Speaker’s Corner              13

and sustainable local frontline for       Civil society in the South is demand-    should be, first and foremost, the
humanitarian action. Local NGOs           ing the opportunity to take on           responsibility of Africans.”
must be allowed to take over the          more responsibility. In the words of
driving seat of aid. Some are already     Dawit Zawde: “Today’s international      Nick Cater is a consultant and com-
developing their own capacity to          aid system is skewed in favour of        mentator on humanitarian issues.
generate domestic and international       the Northern agenda and cannot           Email: wordspicturesuk@yahoo.
funds via commercial enterprises,         respond adequately to the priorities For information about Africa
direct grants, payments for out-          of organisations in the South. Africa    Humanitarian Action visit www.afri-
sourced state welfare services and        has long been depicted as a hope- or contact: AHA,
cross-border Internet-based philan-       less zone of conflict, famine and        PO Box 110, Code 1250, Addis Ababa,
thropy. Local agencies need signifi-      displacement that lacks capacity to      Ethiopia. Tel: + 251 1 511224.
cantly more funding, some of which        respond adequately to crisis. This       Email:
can come by diverting it away from        perception supports an aid paradigm      1. This theme will be explored at greater length
Northern aid agencies. The latter can     that marginalises and erodes local       in the forthcoming special FMR supplement on
                                                                                   the tsunami response, due out July.
then pursue a supportive fundraising      capacity, casting African actors as      2.
and advocacy role for their frontline     sub-contractors to their international   soc6072.doc.htm
partners in the way that many faith-      counterparts. Tackling the crises,
based networks are already doing.         conflicts and disasters in Africa

Human resources neglected
prior to repatriation                                                                                   by Atle Hetland

      ince 2002 more than three           much to build the capacity, of local     Kenya, the Karamajong in Uganda
      million refugees have returned      organisations. ACBAR, the Agency         and the southern Sudanese. But al-
      home to Afghanistan, mostly         Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief,     though the donors expressed agree-
from Pakistan and Iran, in UNHCR’s        with offices in Peshawar and Kabul,      ment with the Forum’s aims and
largest assisted repatriation exercise.   has done excellent work in involving     took many chartered flights from
Unfortunately, some 75% of them           Afghans. However, there are very few     Nairobi to the Sudanese border to
have returned having never received       examples of institutional develop-       ‘assess the situation’, no funding was
any formal schooling, either prior to     ment programmes and long-term            allocated. Now, when peace finally
becoming refugees or in exile. For        inter-university and other institu-      seems to have come to southern
all the years of their displacement       tional linkages between NGOs and in-     Sudan, the consequence could be
the international community knew          stitutions, and Pakistani and Afghan     more than just delayed development:
that sooner or later repatriation and     institutions.                            the whole fragile reconstruction and
reconstruction would ensue. How                                                    peace process may be in jeopardy.
could UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO and             There is scope for the situation to      Had there been greater involvement
other organisations with education        improve. With donor funding and          of the professional institutions in
as part of their mandates allow this      NGO support, Pakistani and Afghan        the host country this would not have
to happen? Why did they not sound         professionals and government of-         happened.
the alarm when UNHCR reported             ficials could together draw up plans
these shortcomings? NGOs and the          for rapid action. Much training can      Donors must learn to take a back
Pakistani authorities must also bear      be done in countries bordering           seat, to allow the involvement of
some responsibility. Why were Pak-        Afghanistan rather than in more          local professional institutions and to
istan’s professional, academic and        distant and costly locations. Afghani-   heed their advice. We need to learn
scientific institutions not involved in   stan cannot afford the time it would     from the past and identify mistakes
educating Afghans?                        take to wait until its institutions      and their consequences. As donors
                                          are fully equipped to undertake the      step back from setting priorities they
Afghanistan’s reconstruction is being     necessary training.                      can put on centre stage those who
delayed by lack of trained person-                                                 should already be there: local institu-
nel. They would have been available       Southern Sudan is facing the same        tions, governments and the refugees
had we – the ‘experts’ and ‘advisers’     problem. In the late 1990s, I coor-      and returnees themselves.
– done our jobs properly. Instead, we     dinated the Turkana Development
effectively ignored literacy training,    Forum. The forum brought together        Atle Hetland is a development and
vocational and technical training,        ‘experts’, politicians, donors, NGOs     refugee education specialist who
teacher training and capacity build-      and refugees in order to provide         has worked in East Africa, Aghani-
ing. We have done little to involve       educational assistance – especially      stan and Pakistan.
Pakistani and Afghan scholars             secondary and technical education,       Email:
or institutions and have neither          peace education and reconstruction
recognised the abilities, nor done        planning – for the Turkanas in
                   14                                                                                                                  FMR 23


                        Europe – fortress or refuge?
                                                                                                                     by Heaven Crawley
                        The theme articles in this FMR challenge Europe’s leaders                          One of the principle aims of Europe-
                                                                                                           an policy then has been to keep out
                        to ensure that development of a common European asylum
                                                                                                           those who are viewed as imposing
                        policy focuses on tackling the root causes of forced migration                     financial and political costs whilst
                        and on providing protection and integration and not simply                         simultaneously attracting economic
                                                                                                           migrants who are able to benefit the
                        keeping asylum seekers out of Europe.                                              economies of EU states. Not surpris-

                                 n 1 May 2004 ten new            3,560 and Tanzania hosts 2,980.5 In       ingly, this has been a difficult – if
                                 countries joined the Euro-      terms of population size, the UK has      not impossible – balance to strike be-
                                 pean Union,1 increasing         five refugees and asylum seekers          cause it means that many individuals
                        the EU’s overall membership to 25        per 1,000 inhabitants, a ranking of       are prevented from accessing Europe
                        countries with a combined popula-        56 out of 163 globally. By contrast       in the first place or when they do are
                        tion of around 500 million. This date    Liberia has 124 refugees and IDPs         subject to increasingly hostile condi-
                        also marked the end of the five-year     per 1,000 inhabitants, Armenia has        tions. And, as some of the articles
                        ‘transitional period’ for the imple-     105 and Afghanistan has 68.               in this issue of FMR suggest, those
                        mentation of the Amsterdam Treaty                                                  who have been most badly affected
                        provisions on a common EU immi-          Although other countries in the           by this process are among those who
                        gration and asylum policy.               world share far greater responsibil-      are the most vulnerable and politi-
                                                                 ity for the globally displaced, the       cally and economically marginalised.
                        From the outset, the rationale behind    substantial rise in asylum applica-       The impact on children is most
                        the development of a common              tions towards the end of the 1980s        obvious but other groups – includ-
                        European policy was that without         and the continuing high numbers in        ing women whose applications for
                        minimum standards there would be         the last decade have driven policy        asylum do not fit a stereotypical
                        a ‘race to the bottom’ as EU states      change in EU member states. Follow-       male ‘norm’ – also appear to have
                        adopted ever stricter policies so as     ing the exceptional peak of intake in     particularly lost out.6
                        not to appear a ‘soft touch’. Cer-       the early 1990s due to
                        tainly, on the face of it at least, it   the crises in the Former
                        is logical that asylum and immigra-      Republic of Yugoslavia
                                                                                            public disquiet and hostility have been
                        tion policy should be dealt with at a
                        European Union level – a European
                                                                 and Eastern Europe, the    allowed to drive the direction of European
                                                                 number of applications
                        approach for a European issue. In        rose more gradually
                                                                                            policy making.
                        practice, however, whilst efforts to     from 234,000 in 1996
                        harmonise were motivated partly          to 387,000 in 1999 and 390,000 in         At the same time as trying to keep
                        by a desire to ensure that ‘Fortress     2000. Since that time numbers have        asylum applicants from reaching
                        Europe’ did not develop, in reality      fallen further still and in 2004 the      Europe in the first place, there have
                        it has served only to cement this        25 EU countries recorded 19% fewer        been discussions in virtually all
                        process.2                                asylum requests than in the previous      Member States – and particularly
                                                                 year.                                     those with longer migration histo-
                        There are a number of complex and                                                  ries – about the need to integrate
                        inter-related reasons why this has                                                 asylum seekers, refugees and other
                                                                 Despite this, there remains a convic-
                        happened. The most obvious of                                                      groups of migrants into the eco-
                                                                 tion, shared by politicians and the
                        these is the obsession – shared by                                                 nomic, cultural and social fabric of
                                                                 public alike, that the asylum system
                        most, if not all, EU Member States                                                 the EU. Governments want better
                                                                 is subject to widespread abuse and
                        – with the number of asylum applica-                                               integration for those already here
                                                                 that most asylum seekers are not
                        tions in Europe.3 In fact only a tiny                                              and for those coming in legally and
                                                                 genuinely in need of protection but
                        proportion of the world’s 20 million                                               are trying to establish a new balance
                                                                 are really economic migrants in
                        refuges, asylum seekers and inter-                                                 between the right of communities to
                                                                 search of a better life for themselves
                        nally displaced ever get to Europe. In                                             their own customs and the right of
                                                                 and their families. The irony of this
                        2002 over two-thirds of these people                                               society to cohesion. But this process
                                                                 assumption is not only that it flies in
                        were hosted in the developing re-                                                  has proved to be equally difficult
                                                                 the face of what we see happening in
                        gions of the world, with the 49 least                                              because the policies of deterrence
                                                                 the world – in Iraq, Sudan, Chechnya
                        developed countries hosting 26% of                                                 themselves undermine the ability
                                                                 and elsewhere – but that Europe is
                        the world’s refugees.4 The UK hosts                                                of asylum seekers and refugees in
                                                                 desperately in need of both skilled
                        11 persons per $1 GDP per capita.                                                  Europe to integrate. Moreover, there
                                                                 and less skilled migrants to fill gaps
                        In terms of its burden by GDP per                                                  has been a wholesale failure on the
                                                                 in the diminishing labour force
                        capita the UK ranks 74th out of 155                                                part of politicians and policy makers
                                                                 resulting from lower birth rates and
                        countries in the world. By compari-                                                to explain the seemingly contradic-
                                                                 changes in education and employ-
                        son Pakistan hosts 4,480 persons per                                               tory approach that is being taken to
                                                                 ment patterns.
                        $1 GDP per capita, the DRC hosts
                       FMR 23                                                              Introduction: Europe – fortress or refuge?             15

                       address the multiple and sometimes      Large-scale resettlement                 no longer a necessity for asylum

                                                                                                                                                         ASYLUM IN EUROPE
                       competing needs and obligations                                                  seekers to enter illegally or under
                       associated with the international       Sixteen countries worldwide offer        false pretences because of the exist-
                       protection and migration regimes.       refugee resettlement programmes          ence of an alternative ‘gateway’,
                       As a result, public disquiet and,       in partnership with UNHCR. Six of        although in reality this is very small
                       more recently, hostility have been      these are EU Member States – Ire-        and selective. These concerns are
                       allowed to increase and to drive the    land, Finland, Denmark, the Nether-      based in part on the development of
                       direction of European policy making.    lands, the UK and Sweden.8 Norway        a two-tier system in Australia where
                       A vicious cycle has become firmly       also has a resettlement programme.       those who arrive in an ‘unauthor-
                       established.                            The numbers of refugees being            ised’ manner are detained in remote
                                                               resettled globally declined sharply      centres and even if they are eventu-
                       The key question that needs to be       after the terrorist attacks in New       ally granted asylum are only granted
                       addressed in terms of the Euro-         York in 2001. The numbers have           temporary status. In other words,
                       pean asylum system is easier to ask     now started to increase and in 2004      even if a person is recognised as a
                       than it is to answer: namely, where     nearly 100,000 places were made          refugee, they can never enjoy the
                       do we go from here? There seems         available, mainly in the US, Canada      same rights as someone with an
                       little doubt that if the approach to    and Australia. However, fewer than       identical claim who arrived on the
                       harmonisation continues in its cur-     5,000 of these refugees are resettled    resettlement programme.
                       rent direction the role of Europe in    to Europe each year and although
                       providing protection to even a small    the UK began a resettlement scheme       Although these concerns are entirely
                       proportion of the world’s displaced     for vulnerable refugees who are in       justifiable given what we have seen
                       is likely to diminish further still.    need of long-term protection – fo-       happen in Europe over recent years,
                       There are measures that EU states       cusing primarily on those currently      the reality is that such an approach
                       could take, either individually or      living in refugee camps in Liberia       already exists in many EU Member
                       collectively, to counter some of the    – since that time only around 160        States. Asylum seekers who arrive
                       impacts of increased external border    people have entered the UK as part       spontaneously are viewed as illegiti-
                       control. One is to provide mecha-       of the scheme.                           mate even in the absence of these
                       nisms for those seeking asylum to                                                alternatives, or where such alterna-
                       come to Europe through protected        In the current political climate there   tives are limited in scale. Given this
                       entry routes (as discussed briefly in   are concerns that the development        context, the key issue is how to
                       relation to the issues facing Chechen   of a large-scale European resettle-      increase the scale of resettlement       Albanian asylum
                       asylum seekers). Another is to          ment programme might be used to          to provide meaningful long-term          seekers reach Italy.
                       establish mechanisms for large-scale    justify a political discourse – and      durable solutions for those in need
                       supported resettlement into Europe      ultimately change in policy approach     of protection.
                       as proposed by the European Com-        – which distinguishes between
                       mission but yet to be developed on      ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ modes    The European Commission has
                       anything but a very small scale.7       of entry and implies that there is       already identified an EU-wide
UNHCR/L Senigalliesi
                   16   Introduction: Europe – fortress or refuge?                                                                                 FMR 23
                        resettlement scheme as one aspect of      ity that EU policies to address the        also in terms of our international
                        ensuring more accessible, equitable       root causes of these conflicts would       role and responsibilities.
                        and managed asylum systems and            probably have had significantly more
                        has commissioned a study on the           impact on the number of applica-           What is needed to generate these
                        feasibility of setting up resettlement    tions in Europe than any number of         shifts in thinking? The articles which
                        schemes in EU Member States or at         measures to prevent asylum seekers         follow make a number of practi-
                        EU level. Any resettlement schemes        from entering.                             cal suggestions but what is needed
                        which are developed will need to be
                        much more substantial than exist-         Secondly, it
                        ing ones if they are to have anything     is time for EU   what is needed above all else is political courage
                        other than a negligible impact (an        governments
                        annual European quota of 100,000          to abandon the assumption that it          above all else is political courage:
                        is the emerging consensus), must          is possible to distinguish between         brave European leaders willing to
                        be treated as a complement to,            those seen as ‘economically produc-        urge public opinion towards a more
                        rather than as a substitute for, the      tive’ and those viewed largely as an       nuanced and sophisticated approach
                        right to seek asylum spontaneously        economic ‘burden’. People are not          to the issues of asylum and migra-
                        and should not be a substitute for        simply units of labour but come with       tion. Such a shift would build on
                        the legally binding rights that at-       – or have aspirations for – family and     Europe’s powerful political and eco-
                        tach to a refugee who has directly        other relationships and a desire to        nomic place in the world, acknowl-
                        engaged the protection obligations        find a meaningful place in the soci-       edge and attempt to address the root
                        of a state party to the 1951 Refugee      ety in which they live. This is often      causes of international conflict and
                        Convention. This means that failure       what it means to be truly integrated.      provide meaningful and long-term
                        to access such procedures should          Whilst employment is a very impor-         mechanisms for providing protection
                        never be used as a reason to deny an      tant part of this process, it is not the   to those who are unable to get it in
                        asylum seeker access to a procedure,      final or necessarily most important        their countries of origin. Europe has
                        or to draw adverse inferences about       indicator of integration. Unless and       an obligation towards the world’s
                        the genuineness of his/her other          until EU states accept their obliga-       refugees but it also has an obligation
                        claim for protection. This in turn will   tions towards those who are in need        towards itself. At the moment it ap-
                        require the concept of a ‘refugee’ to     of protection and value migrants           pears to be fulfilling neither.
                        be reconceptualised and reclaimed.        (economic or otherwise) for reasons
                                                                  that are not simply related to the         Heaven Crawley (email
                                                                                                    is Director of
                        Reconceptualising refugees                contribution that they can make
                                                                  to economic growth but to society          AMRE Consulting, an independent
                                                                  more generally, we are in danger of        research company specialising
                        Measures to enable forced migrants
                                                                  establishing a ‘guestworker’ system        in UK and European asylum and
                        to enter and settle in the EU and to
                                                                  similar to that seen in Europe in the      migration issues.
                        contribute their often very consider-
                        able skills and energy to the Euro-       1950s and 1960s and with similar
                                                                                                             1. These are Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
                        pean labour market will require three     long-term consequences.                    Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the
                        very significant but inter-related                                                   Slovak Republic and Slovenia.
                        shifts in political thinking.             Last, but by no means least, the lan-      03fortress-europe.htm
                                                                  guage of protection and of the rights      3. Zetter et al (2003) The Impact of Asylum Poli-
                                                                  and needs of refugees needs to be          cies in Europe 1990-2000, Home Office Research
                        The first is a recognition that whilst
                                                                                                             Study 259: available at
                        the asylum determination systems          reclaimed. In the European context it      uk/rds/pdfs2/hors259.pdf
                        of Europe have over the years come        is rare to hear discussion of refugee      4. UNHCR (2004) Statistical Yearbook 2002;
                                                                                                             Trends in Displacement, Protection and
                        to define a ‘Convention refugee’          issues others than in the context of
                                                                                                             Solutions, UNHCR: available at
                        so narrowly that few now qualify,         debates about integration. In most         tistics. See also ‘Falling asylum figures: a wake-up
                        this does not mean that the major-        political and policy discussions,          call for the EU? by Raymond Hall, UNHCR Bureau
                                                                                                             for Europe, p54 of this FMR.
                        ity of asylum seekers are in reality      and in the media ‘debate’ that often       5. Asylum in the UK: An ippr Fact File (2005),
                        economic migrants and that they do        accompanies it, the terms ‘economic        available at
                                                                  migrant’ and ‘asylum seeker’ prevail.      factfile_feb05.pdf
                        not have protection needs. During
                                                                                                             6. For a comparative analysis of gender-related
                        the period 1990-2000, nearly 60% of       Not only does this set up a false di-      persecution in national asylum legislation and
                        all those seeking asylum in Europe        chotomy between the two but it does        practice in Europe see
                        originated from just ten countries        not allow any space for discussion of
                        in which there was well-documented        the principles of protection or of the     7.
                        conflict, human rights abuse and          reasons why the concept of asylum is       doc_centre/asylum/common/asylumstudy_dchr_
                        political repression.9 Politicians and    important. At the same time the term       8. Non-EU Member States which offer resettle-
                        policy makers can and do argue that       ‘asylum seeker’ – even more so than        ment programmes are: Australia, Benin, Brazil,
                                                                  ‘economic migrant’ – has become a          Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Iceland, New Zea-
                        not all of these individuals were
                                                                                                             land, Norway and the US.
                        directly affected by these conflicts      term of abuse with connotations that       9. Castles, Crawley and Loughna (2002) States of
                        but that does not and should not          go far beyond the reality of an indi-      Conflict: Causes and patterns of forced migration
                                                                                                             to the EU and policy responses, London: IPPR
                        be allowed to detract from the fact       vidual awaiting a decision on their
                        that these conflicts undermine the        need or otherwise for protection. The
                        ability of the individuals concerned      language of ‘refuge’ is important not
                        to live without fear. Nor should it be    only in terms of how Europe treats
                        allowed to detract from the real-         the people within its borders but
FMR 23                                                                                                                      17

Chequered progress towards

                                                                                                                                 ASYLUM IN EUROPE
a common EU asylum policy
                                                                                                    by Tim Morris
Examination of the common EU asylum standards so                                  – at least on the face of it – appears
                                                                                  to set out some basic procedural
far adopted suggests that there is still a long way to go                         guarantees to asylum applicants – in-
                                                                                  cluding the right to remain in the EU
before asylum policy and practice are harmonised and                              country pending examination and in
that this process of harmonisation may undermine the                              relation to examination and decision
                                                                                  making (including legal assistance
principles enshrined in the Refugee Convention.                                   and representation, personal inter-

                                                                                  view and stating of reasons for rejec-
        he adoption of the Amsterdam     irrespective of the EU state in which
                                                                                  tion). Nevertheless, the Directive has
        Treaty by the members of         s/he lodges the asylum claim and
                                                                                  failed to achieve its overall objective
        the European Union in 1997       would also act to prevent secondary
                                                                                  of establishing a Common European
marked the beginning of a new era        migration of asylum applicants (so-
                                                                                  Asylum System based on the full and
for asylum policy making in Europe.      called ’asylum shopping’) between
                                                                                  inclusive application of the Refugee
Title IV, Article 63 of the Amster-      countries of the EU.3
                                                                                  Convention. This is arguably because
dam Treaty refers to the adoption of
                                         At Tampere EU leaders confirmed          of fundamental weakness in the
minimum standards on procedures
                                         the target date of May 2004, set out     draft Procedures Directive which
in member states for granting and
                                         in Article 63, as the deadline for       potentially seriously undermines the
withdrawing refugee status and the
                                         completion of harmonisation. This        ability of asylum seekers and refu-
establishment of EU-wide binding
                                         turned out to be unrealistic. Dif-       gees to access protection.
minimum rules on asylum and immi-
gration. In the same year the Dublin     ficult negotiations slowed down the
Convention clarified that individuals    process and disappointed those who       Directive’s shortcomings
claiming asylum must make their ap-      thought Tampere would usher in
plication in the first EU country that   better protection for persons fleeing    The wide scope of inadmissible ap-
they enter.1                             persecution and better solutions to      plications listed in the draft Proce-
                                         the problems faced by governments.4      dures Directive leaves EU states free
Following the Amsterdam Treaty’s         Just prior to the expiry of the          to refuse access to asylum proce-
entry into force in May 1999, EU         deadline, EU Justice Ministers met in    dures. It is cause for concern that:
leaders held a summit in Tampere,        Brussels and agreed to adopt a draft
Finland, in October 1999 which           Directive on Minimum Standards for       ■ Article 27’s definitions of the
shaped the political guidelines that     Member States’ Procedures for Grant-       ‘safe third country’ concept is
constituted the framework in which       ing and Withdrawing Refugee Status         open to criticism due to the
the EU’s policies and legislation on     (the ‘Procedures Directive’) 5 and a       ambiguous stipulation of whether
asylum and immigration were to           Directive on Minimum Standards for         there is to be case-by-case exami-
be developed. They reaffirmed the        the Qualification and Status of Third      nation of whether the third coun-
EU’s commitment to the right to          Country Nationals and Stateless Per-       try concerned is in reality safe for
seek asylum. They agreed to “work        sons as Refugees or as Persons who         the particular asylum applicant.
towards establishing a Common Eu-        otherwise need International Protec-     ■ The scope for applicants to chal-
ropean Asylum System, based on the       tion (the ‘Qualification Directive’).6     lenge the application of the ‘safe
full and inclusive application of the                                               third country’ concept on the
Geneva [Refugee] Convention, thus        The outcome of the harmonisation           grounds that s/he be subjected to
ensuring that nobody is sent back        process has been rather contradic-         torture, cruel, inhuman or degrad-
to persecution, i.e. maintaining the     tory and therefore remains unclear.        ing treatment or punishment in
principle of non-refoulement”.2 The      On the one hand the Qualification          that country is not only minimal-
Tampere conclusions also state that,     Directive clarifies that in the deter-     ist but is also at variance with
in the long term, community rules        mination of protection status the          the general criteria for ‘safe third
should lead to a common asylum           actor of persecution is irrelevant and     countries’ in the same Article.
procedure and a uniform status for       can include non-state actors such as     ■ Scope for inadmissibility under
those who are granted asylum valid       militia. This goes some way to reduc-      the notion of so-called ‘supersafe
throughout the EU.                       ing the differences in interpretation      third countries’ allows for refusal
                                         of the Convention which existed in         of substantive examination of
The Tampere meeting endorsed an          EU states up till now. Importantly,        asylum applications submitted by
initial working document on harmo-       the Directive also allows for the          persons entering through certain
nisation prepared in March 1999. It      recognition as a refugee of those per-     European countries outside the
emphasised that common minimum           sons who have a well-founded fear of       EU: the criteria for designating
standards would both ensure that         being persecuted on account of their       such ’supersafe third countries’
any individual asylum applicant          sexual orientation or gender. At the       are formalistic.
should receive the same decision         same time the Procedures Directive
                   18 Chequered progress towards a common EU asylum policy                                                                FMR 23

                           ■ ‘Safe countries of origin’ are to be   of existing national rules may have       to be intertwined with the concrete
                             designated not only by EU mem-         been extended during the drafting         assessment of individual cases in
                             bers according to existing legisla-    process, since the decisive date for      which evidentiary issues play a
                             tion but also through a minimum        such rules is the time of the adop-       major role. This is likely to reduce
                             common list to be adopted by           tion of the Directive.                    transparency. Domestic norms and
                             the Justice and Home Affairs                                                     practices limiting judicial review may
                             (JHA) Council. Eventually, the JHA     These procedural arrangements and         exacerbate the transparency prob-
                             Council gave up reaching agree-        limited safeguards regarding appeal       lem. It may become difficult to prove
                             ment on this list, postponing the      against negative decisions imply          if EU states deviate (indirectly) from
                             decision till the abandonment of       serious risks for the legal safety        the minimum standards laid down in
                             the unanimity requirement.             of individuals. In certain circum-        the Qualification Directive regarding
                           ■ While the Commission initially         stances this may result in merely         the delimitation of persons in need
                             intended to modify the concept         cosmetic examination of the need          of protection.
                             of ‘manifestly unfounded’ asylum       for international protection. This is
                             applications in order to narrow        particularly worrying because certain     The Procedures Directive governs
                             the scope of application of ac-        EU states intending to implement          administrative and procedural mat-
                             celerated procedures, the adopted      these optional provisions already         ters where there will be more control
                             Directive allows for extensive ap-     apply similar practices jeopardising      over whether the minimum require-
                             plication of such procedures. This     refugee protection, while others have     ments have been implemented. EU
                             follows partly from the option to      little experience with procedural         countries will simply not have the
                             lay down national rules for such       safeguards for asylum applicants          same opportunities for ignoring
                             procedures to cover a wide num-        and may embrace such a fragile legal      or evading these common stand-
                             ber of situations and partly from      framework. The introduction of sub-       ards because any administrative or
                             the introduction of ‘specific pro-     minimum standards provides no ef-         procedural arrangement at variance
                             cedures’ which allow individual        fective guarantees for the thorough       with the Procedures Directive will be
                             EU members to derogate (ie avoid       examination of individual applicants’     readily discovered both by the indi-
                             the full implementation) of the        need for international protection.        viduals affected and by those bodies
                             basic principles and guarantees of                                               controlling the implementation of
                             the Directive.                         Diversity or evasion?                     EU law. This might explain why EU
                                                                                                              states utilised their right of veto
                           Derogation is allowed if examina-        As with the Refugee Convention            inherent in the unanimity require-
       Asylum seekers      tion of asylum claims takes place        definition, the interpretation of the     ment to insist on a vast amount of
          from Albania     in the context of decisions on entry     Qualification Directive (stipulating      exceptions or derogations in order
      arrive in Brindisi   into the territory at the border or in   who qualifies either for refugee or       to ensure the possibility of maintain-
        harbour, Italy.    transit zones. Importantly, the scope    subsidiary protection status) is likely   ing domestic peculiarities. This is

                                                                                                                                                       UNHCR/M Vacca
     FMR 23                                             Chequered progress towards a common EU asylum policy                               19

     no surprise given that there have           introducing a new procedure on         ECRE welcomes the proposal for

                                                                                                                                                ASYLUM IN EUROPE
     traditionally been few international        subsidiary protection grounds.         steps towards the development of a
     obligations concerning asylum pro-        ■ scope to facilitate protection and     single asylum procedure as further
     cedures, due to different administra-       integration due to the more rapid      progress towards a Common Euro-
     tive and judicial traditions of States      granting of protection to those in     pean Asylum System. However, ECRE
     parties to the Refugee Convention.          genuine need.                          cautions that this must be based on
                                                                                        the full and inclusive application of
                                                                     However,           the 1951 Refugee Convention and
the introduction of a single asylum procedure …                      there are some
                                                                                        other international human rights law
                                                                                        instruments as originally set out in
may involve the risk of undermining the primacy                      and problems       Tampere at the outset of the har-
of the Refugee Convention                                            associated with
                                                                     the introduction
                                                                                        monisation process. In this respect,
                                                                                        ECRE reiterates its grave concerns
                                                                     of an all-inclu-   about the standards contained in
     The unanimity requirement within          sive or partial single procedure. One    the Procedures Directive, which are
     this policy area has now been aban-       major concern is the potential for       capable of interpretation and appli-
     doned. It remains to be seen whether      a ‘watering down’ of Convention          cation in a manner inconsistent with
     the modified legislative system,          refugee status. The examination of       international refugee and human
     allowing for future asylum standards      any asylum application carries the       rights law. It is vital that EU states
     to be adopted in the co-decision          risk of an incorrect decision, a risk    view developments towards a single
     procedure under Article 251, will         that might arguably be exacerbated       asylum procedure as a means to im-
     remedy the failures so characteristic     by the current hostile climate and       prove both the quality and efficiency
     for the harmonisation of asylum           by an accelerated pace of decision       of decision making, rather than as
     procedures.                               making. The existence of separate        an opportunity to further reduce
                                               procedures for examination on            standards of protection to the low-
     A Single Asylum Procedure as              Refugee Convention and subsidiary        est common denominator, thereby
     the route to protection?                  protection grounds provides the op-      putting at risk the lives and safety of
                                               portunity for remedying mistakes in      individuals fleeing persecution.
     In November 2004 the EU adopted           the former. Thus, the introduction of
     the ’Hague Programme’ on the devel-       a single asylum procedure eliminates     Tim Morris is one of the FMR edi-
     opment of EU justice and home af-         a structural safeguard. In addition,     tors. We are grateful for informa-
     fairs policy over the next five years.7   it may involve the risk of under-        tion and comments provided
     The Hague Programme will strength-        mining the primacy of the Refugee        by Jens Vedsted-Hansen of the
     en EU cooperation on asylum and           Convention, due to the incentive to      University of Aarhus Law School,
     immigration issues and specifies          opt for the less demanding alterna-      Denmark (email:
     actions the EU will take to further co-   tive within the same examination         without whom this article could not
     ordinate and integrate immigration        procedure.                               have been written.
     and asylum policies. It stipulates
     that by 2010 the EU should have a                                                  1.
                                               The reduction of procedural safe-
     common asylum policy executed by          guards may be compensated for by         2.
     a single EU body through a single         the higher procedural standards for      3.
                                                                                        4. The European Council on Refugees and Exiles
     asylum procedure. To avoid gridlock       the examination of subsidiary pro-       assessment is at:
     in reaching consensus, almost all         tection cases that will, in a number     pere_June04_full.doc
     decisions on immigration of the 25        of EU states, follow from the exten-     5.
     EU members – including in relation        sion of the scope of EU standards on     6.
     to asylum – will no longer require a      asylum. However, this extension of       20040069.htm and further discussion of the
     unanimous vote but will be taken by                                                Directive on p56.
                                               the scope of procedural standards
     qualified majority.8                      in turn requires an increased level      annotated-final.pdf
                                               of protection in terms of appeal         8. For the EU a qualified majority is when at
                                                                                        least 55% of EU members, including at least 15
     A single asylum procedure should          rights. Unlike the Refugee Conven-       countries and comprising states which make
     facilitate applications for protection    tion, which has no specific demands      up at least 65% of the EU’s population, are in
     and save both time and money. It          in terms of examination and appeals      agreement.

     may prove an important deterrent to       procedures, the human rights obliga-
     abuse of existing systems due to:         tions of non-refoulement underly-
                                               ing subsidiary protection require           The Forced Migration
     ■ shorter duration of asylum pro-         compliance with the related right to       Online team at the RSC
       cedures as a result of the joint        effective remedies. This imposes on
       examination of both Refugee Con-        EU members the obligation to secure
                                                                                         has produced a resource
       vention and subsidiary protection       a right to suspension of deportation     page on Asylum in Europe
       grounds                                 as long as the relevant legal remedy         to complement this
     ■ fewer administrative resources          has not yet reached a conclusion.
       spent by joining the two examina-       Hence, the efficiency inherent in the    feature section. See: www.
       tion procedures                         single asylum procedure cannot be 
     ■ more effective enforcement of           obtained without some investment
       negative decisions by denying           in ‘fairness’ in terms of enhanced
       asylum applicants the chance            procedural standards.                            asylum.htm
       to postpone deportation by
                   20                                                                                                                      FMR 23

                        Towards the integration of

                        refugees in Europe
                                                                                   by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles
                        The guiding principle for national integration policies in                              plaints about discrimination.
                                                                                                              ■ Anti-discrimination legislation
                        Europe should be a mainstream approach to refugee in-                                   must be backed up by penalties
                        tegration where possible and the provision of specialised                               reflecting the seriousness of the
                                                                                                                crime committed, and by public
                        services where necessary.                                                               awareness campaigns highlighting

                               efugee integration is a dynam-       ance and xenophobia has emerged in          direct, indirect and institutional
                               ic two-way process, in which         some European countries, oppos-             discrimination.
                               individual refugees, govern-         ing the integration of refugees and       ■ States must work to ensure that
                        ments and society work together             exploiting the public’s fear of ‘the        refugees are made aware of, and
                        towards building a cohesive society.        other’. Such an attitude – based on         can access, their rights.
                        This process begins from day one.           racism rather than facts – is unac-
                        Integration relates both to the condi-      ceptable and highly counter-produc-       Political and socio-economic
                        tions for and actual participation in       tive to the development of a cohesive     integration
                        all aspects of the economic, social,        society.
                        cultural, civil and political life of the                                             The aim of political integration is to
                        country, as well as to refugees’ own        Political leadership is needed to shift   bring about conditions which allow
                        perceptions of acceptance by and            the focus from deterrence, numbers        refugees to participate in all aspects
                        membership in the host society.             and costs to asking how to most           of the political life of the host coun-
                                                                    effectively meet European states’         try. There are, however, significant
                        The focus in the current refugee            international legal obligations. The      political differences among states
                        integration debate, however, is often       fears and needs of host communities       with regard to equal opportunities
                        limited to individuals not living up        need to be taken seriously but policy     for refugees.
                        to integration expectations held by         makers must refrain from playing
                        host societies. Part of the challenge       out fears of different population         One key question is whether
                        to facilitate integration of refugees       groups against each other – or from       refugees should be identified and
                        lies in the fact that refugees share        avoiding the topic all together.          treated separately. Integration initia-
                        many integration needs with other                                                     tives could either address refugee-
                        migrants and resident third-country         In order to promote a welcoming           specific needs or act as ‘bridges’
                        nationals but are also likely to have       society to facilitate refugee integra-    to mainstream provision. They
                        special needs as a result of their          tion, ECRE recommends that:               could be combined with services
                        displacement and their treatment in                                                   provided to migrant or minority
                        the asylum determination process.           ■ Education at schools, colleges and      groups, with the overall objective
                        Refugee integration is closely related        in the workplace should pro-            being the eventual incorporation of
                        to the reception phase and the                mote respect for differences and        refugee perspective(s) in minority
                        quality and length of the asylum              highlight the benefits of cultural      and equality policies. Any positive
                        determination procedure. The Euro-            diversity.                              action must be time-limited accord-
                        pean Council on Refugees and Exiles         ■ Policy makers and governments           ing to individual need, with clear exit
                        (ECRE) recommends that the recep-             should take more responsibil-           strategies and geared towards equal
                        tion phase should be recognised as            ity for ensuring accurate and           opportunities.
                        an integral part of the integration           balanced public information on
                        process of refugees.                          refugee issues.                         With regard to political integra-
                                                                    ■ Governments should identify             tion, there are many challenges to
                        Creating a welcoming society                  and counteract misinformation,          refugee participation in politics. In
                                                                      in particular where it incites fear     some countries, where refugees have
                        Research on public perceptions                and mistrust of refugees, and           the right to vote at the local level,
                        about refugees has shown that peo-            explain clearly that refugees are       refugee issues are placed higher on
                        ple who are least in favour of ethnic         people in need of protection.           the political agenda with politicians
                        diversity live in mostly ethnically         ■ European governments should             becoming more responsive and
                        homogeneous areas. There is little            seek to introduce national anti-        aware of the concerns of this group.
                        public understanding of the reasons           discrimination legislation and          In Ireland, for example, where asy-
                        why refugees have to flee. Reporting          systems to monitor refugee access       lum seekers/refugees were allowed
                        on asylum issues is an emotive and            to the labour and housing mar-          to vote and stand for vote in local
                        sensitive area and all too often the          kets as well as to health, social,      elections in June 2004, the political
                        media revert to the use of impre-             education and other community           debate was changed; refugee-related
                        cise language and stereotypes when            services.                               issues were debated and members of
                        describing refugee issues. Over the         ■ Easily accessible systems should        the immigrant and refugee commu-
                        last few years a climate of intoler-          be introduced for lodging com-          nity were successfully elected.
                  FMR 23                                                          Towards the integration of refugees in Europe                 21

                                                                                                                                                      ASYLUM IN EUROPE
UNHCR/E Dagnino

                                                                                                                                               Albanian asylum
                                                                                                                                               seekers arrive at
                                                                                                                                               Brindisi, Italy.
                  Refugees may face a number of bar-        country of origin. Physical and men-         ing family reunification, freedom
                  riers to socio-economic integration       tal health interventions need to take        of movement, access to employ-
                  resulting from their experiences of       into account the range of circum-            ment and education.
                  flight and involuntary exile: lack of     stances of refugees’ lives.              ■   The right to vote and stand for
                  knowledge of the language of the                                                       election at the local, national and
                  host country, isolation and sepa-         Housing provision impacts on a               European level should be granted
                  ration from family members and            number of other integration out-             to refugees after a maximum of
                  physical and mental health prob-          comes, such as health, education             three years’ residence. (Participa-
                  lems relating to past trauma. Failure     and employment. Refugees should              tion at the local and European
                  by governments to address these           be allowed the same freedoms as              level is allowed in Denmark,
                  functional barriers to integration        nationals to choose where to reside.         Sweden, Finland and Belgium.)
                  can result in the marginalisation of                                               ■   Citizenship is an important
                  refugees and can impact negatively        Integration interventions need to be         policy instrument for facilitating
                  on society as a whole.                    targetted at the particular age-relat-       integration. European govern-
                                                            ed needs of refugee children, young          ments should give consideration
                  Lack of access to the labour market       people and older refugees. A gender          to Article 34 of the Convention
                  during the initial period of arrival in   perspective aimed at meeting the             Relating to the Status of Refu-
                  a country of asylum seriously hin-        particular needs of refugee women,           gees and the Council of Europe’s
                  ders refugee integration in the long      while recognising the difficulties           Recommendation 564 (1969) on
                  term. In addition, very few European      faced by refugee men, should also be         the Acquisition by Refugees of
                  countries allow asylum seekers to         incorporated,                                the Nationality of Their Country
                  work while they await a decision                                                       of Residence and in particular
                  on their application for asylum.          Many European governments rely               facilitate the naturalisation of
                  Vocational training, recognition of       on NGOs for the delivery of integra-         refugees.
                  qualifications, education and lan-        tion services to asylum seekers and      ■   EU legislation currently limits
                  guage tuition are important factors       refugees. Information exchange and           the right to family reunification
                  in the process of achieving gainful       communication can help in putting            to people meeting the criteria of
                  employment [see article pp33-35]          together the different approaches            the 1951 Refugee Convention.
                  and vocational training can also play     and ideas so that they complement            It should be extended to apply
                  a significant role with regard to refu-   each other rather than compete               to any person not covered by the
                  gee empowerment and integration.          against each other, to the detriment         1951 Refugee Convention but
                                                            of services.                                 nevertheless in need of interna-
                  Refugees can suffer from a range                                                       tional protection.
                  of health problems relating to their      ECRE argues that:                        ■   Any restrictions on employment
                  experiences of war, political persecu-                                                 should be lifted at the earliest
                  tion, torture and imprisonment and        ■ Refugees should be entitled to             possible stage and no later than
                  the conditions of escape from their         long-term residence rights regard-         six months from the time of the
                   22   Towards the integration of refugees in Europe                                                                  FMR 23
                          initial application for asylum.        country be acquired. There are, how-      need to be aware of their responsi-
                        ■ Study grants should be made            ever, a number of core values that        bilities towards their host countries
                          available and qualifications more      underlie the cultures of democratic       with regard to common values. Refu-
                          readily recognised.                    European countries: human rights,         gees themselves are the most impor-
                        ■ Health providers should, as far        the principle of equity, the protec-      tant actor in refugee integration and
                          as possible, develop culturally        tion of minorities, democracy, the        integration initiatives should include
                          sensitive services that reconcile      separation of state and church and        their input, knowledge and expertise.
                          European norms of health with          the rule of law.                          In order to assure that refugee voices
                          non-Western health orientations.                                                 are heard in the integration debate
                        ■ Training for professionals, includ-    Religion plays a major role for many      the empowerment of refugees is
                          ing doctors, nurses, teachers, in-     asylum seekers and refugees and           crucial.
                          terpreters and others, on refugee      this can pose both opportunities and
                          and cross-cultural issues should       challenges to societies. Newly arrived    This article is based on ECRE’s
                          be made available at educational       groups might revitalise already exist-    forthcoming paper ‘Towards the
                          establishments and in the work-        ing religious groups but their beliefs    Integration of Refugees in Europe’.
                          place.                                 might also come up against a separa-      This is part of a series of proposals,
                        ■ States should ensure the involve-      tion of state and church in secular-      developed by ECRE, entitled ‘The
                          ment of all sectors of the refugee     ised Western societies. Religious         Way Forward – Europe’s Role in the
                          population, including special          organisations in the host society         Global Refugee Protection Sys-
                          needs/vulnerable groups, in            can promote religious tolerance,          tem’, which is designed to provide
                          the design, implementation and         respect and understanding between         constructive recommendations on
                          evaluation of integration pro-         members of different faiths, provide      a number of topical refugee policy
                          grammes.                               services for newly arrived refugees       issues in order to contribute to and
                        ■ Government authorities and NGOs        as well as provide opportunities to       positively influence the European
                          delivering services to asylum          get in contact with others already        debate. The paper on the integra-
                          seekers and refugees should work       established in the community.             tion of refugees was developed with
                          in partnership with responsibili-                                                input from ECRE member agencies
                          ties clearly outlined.                 Refugees have cultural ties in more       and was written by Christiane Wirth,
                                                                 than one country. Although primar-        Henry Mårtenson, David Hudson and
                        The final steps of the integration       ily a political and legal matter, dual    Roswitha Weiler. Email: ecre@ecre.
                        process happen in inter-personal         citizenship can be seen as a tool to      org Website:
                        relationships at the local level – in    acknowledge these ‘trans-national’ or
                        the neighbourhood, at the workplace,     ‘multiple’ identities. Some countries
                        in the education of their children       have recognised dual citizenship as          Towards a European
                        and as friends. Policy makers need       a possibility to attract international          Resettlement
                        to be aware of the inter-personal        economic cooperation through for-
                        dimension of integration by creat-       eign direct investment or tourism.
                        ing opportunities for these types of     In European countries, however, the
                                                                                                              In this paper ECRE calls for
                        interaction at the local level.          belief persists that dual citizen-
                                                                                                              Europe to substantially increase
                                                                 ship poses questions of loyalty and
                                                                                                              its resettlement activities at
                        Cultural integration                     belonging.
                                                                                                              both national and European lev-
                        Cultural diversity is a characteris-                                                  el and thus take a fairer share
                                                                 ■ Different inter-religious platforms
                        tic feature of today’s democratic                                                     of the large number of refugees
                                                                   should be established to strength-
                        Europe. European societies differ                                                     worldwide in urgent need of re-
                                                                   en the knowledge of religion(s)
                        considerably, however, in the degree                                                  settlement. ECRE suggests how
                                                                   among government staff, jour-
                        to which they embrace cultural diver-                                                 a joint European resettlement
                                                                   nalists and the public, including
                        sity and in the ways they deal with                                                   programme could be developed
                                                                   school pupils.
                        both recent newcomers (refugees and                                                   and how it could function,
                                                                 ■ The role of religious organisations
                        migrants) and established foreigners                                                  on the basis of the views and
                                                                   in promoting respect and under-
                        and minorities in general. Europe’s                                                   experience of ECRE member
                                                                   standing and providing essential
                        own history as a refugee-producing                                                    agencies. The paper looks at
                                                                   services should be recognised and
                        region must not be forgotten, nor                                                     how commitments to resettle
                                                                   drawn on by policy makers.
                        the fact that both migration within                                                   a certain number of refugees
                                                                 ■ Refugees should be allowed to
                        Europe and inward migration to                                                        could be set and shared by
                                                                   continue to hold their original
                        Europe have contributed to the grow-                                                  states, as well as what criteria
                                                                   nationality where possible (ie be
                        ing wealth, not the impoverishment,                                                   should be used to target agreed
                                                                   granted dual citizenship).
                        of Europe. This should be acknowl-                                                    commitments. It addresses the
                        edged in integration policies both                                                    resettlement process in some
                                                                 Conclusion                                   detail and suggests how iden-
                        at the national and at the European
                        level.                                                                                tification, processing, decision
                                                                 The recommendations above cannot             making and pre-departure ac-
                                                                 present a panacea for all integration        tivities could be adjusted in the
                        ‘Culture’ is not a static concept but
                                                                 challenges in all countries. However,        context of a European resettle-
                        is constantly evolving. To provide for
                                                                 all countries must improve their             ment programme.
                        cultural integration it is not neces-
                                                                 integration efforts and realise the
                        sary that all individually perceived
                                                                 importance of developing cohesive            Paper online at
                        notions of one particular culture in a
                                                                 societies. Equally, individual refugees
FMR 23                                                                                                                    23

Europe looks to Africa to

                                                                                                                               ASYLUM IN EUROPE
solve the ‘asylum problem’
                                                                                           by Heaven Crawley
The drive to reduce the number of asylum seekers in                              ■ Transit Processing Centres
                                                                                   (TPCs) – to be established along
Europe and to secure durable solutions for the ‘asylum                             major transit routes into the EU,
problem’ has provoked controversy about ‘extra-territo-                            close to EU borders, to which
                                                                                   those asylum seekers arriving
rial processing’. The most effective and durable solution,                         spontaneously in the UK or an-
however, is to address the root causes of the initial flight.                       other EU member state would be
                                                                                   removed and where their claims

      ince 1999 Europe has embarked     tion Plus’ initiative. This focuses on     would be processed. Those given
      on a long – and often painful     the strategic use of resettlement,         refugee status could then be re-
      – process of policy harmonisa-    measures to address irregular sec-         settled in participating EU states
tion designed to deliver a common       ondary movements of refugees and           whilst other would be returned to
European asylum policy. The recent      asylum seekers and the targeting of        their country of origin.
history of European migration policy    development assistance to achieve
has been dominated by two objec-        durable solutions.                       UNHCR’s proposal – which has been
tives that are pulling in opposite                                               widely viewed as an attempt to ame-
directions. On the one hand, the age-   The desire of countries in Europe to     liorate the most damaging aspects of
ing populations and changing labour     reduce the number of asylum seek-        the UK proposal – was presented as
markets of most European countries      ers for which they are responsible       the ‘EU prong’ of its wider Conven-
have created employment opportuni-      and the concerns of UNHCR that du-       tion Plus initiative. The ‘EU prong’
ties for both high- and low-skilled     rable solutions be found have come       proposes separating out the groups
labour migrants. On the other, there    together – in a rather unexpected        that are clearly abusing the system,
has been growing concern about          and worrying way – in recent Euro-       and sending them to one or more
the ‘asylum problem’ – despite the      pean discussions about so-called         reception centres somewhere within
reality that the number of people       ‘extra-territorial processing’.          the EU, where their claims would be
seeking asylum in the EU is stead-                                               rapidly examined by joint EU teams.
ily decreasing. Many politicians,       Proposals to process
policy makers and members of the        applications in Africa            talking tough on asylum has become very
public believe that asylum is being
(mis)used as a means of gaining ac-     Early in 2003 the European        popular for politicians
cess to the EU and that this reduces    Council – the main EU deci-              The UK proposals provoked a public
the efficiency of EU labour markets,    sion-making body whose meetings          and political outcry because they
involves substantial expenditure on     are attended by EU leaders or senior     were seen not as a genuine initiative
processing and welfare and under-       ministers – received two proposals,      to address the causes of formed mi-
mines public confidence in Europe’s     one from the UK government and           gration but as a populist attempt to
ability to control its borders.         one from UNHCR, each mapping out         be seen to be ‘tough’ on asylum. In
                                        their ideas for a future European        the UK, as in many other countries in
As these developments have taken        Asylum System.                           Europe, talking tough on asylum has
place in Europe, UNHCR and others                                                become very popular for politicians
have encouraged states to address       The UK’s proposal was circulated to      of all political persuasions. Although
the root causes of forced migra-        EU ministers by the UK Prime Minis-      the UNHCR proposals received a
tion and to devise durable solutions    ter, Tony Blair, and was entitled ‘New   more favourable reception than the
to forced migration which enable        International Approaches to Asylum       British proposals, they were regard-
people to remain in their regions of    Protection’.1 It had two separate but    ed with caution by some who were
origin rather than make long and        inter-related elements:                  concerned that the notion of setting
often dangerous journeys to access                                               up a parallel determination process
protection. For many years UNHCR        ■ Regional Protection Areas (RPAs)       represented a retreat away from
has made efforts to link humanitar-       – to be established in regions         the principles of the 1951 Refugee
ian assistance with the development       of origin. Asylum seekers from         Convention.
process in less prosperous regions        certain countries could then be
of the world. Most recently UNHCR         returned to their home regions         What happened to the
has attempted to establish a com-         where ‘effective protection’ could     proposals?
prehensive framework for refugee          be offered to them, and where
protection and to address the root        they would be processed with a         Although not entirely new, the UK
causes of forced migration through        view to managed resettlement in        proposals provided the catalyst for
its Global Consultations on Interna-      their home regions or, for some,       an intense debate within and outside
tional Protection, and subsequent         access to resettlement schemes in      Europe about the future of the inter-
Agenda for Protection and ‘Conven-        Europe.                                national protection regime.
                              24 Europe looks to Africa to solve the ‘asylum problem’                                                                   FMR 23

                                        The European Commission, the EU’s        The UK Government, for example,           EU officials would receive and exam-
                                        executive arm, responded to both         has continued discussions ‘behind         ine asylum applications. According
                                        sets of proposals by publishing a        the scenes’ with a number of EU           to the German proposal, those found
                                        document which effectively rejected      countries (most notably the Nether-       to be refugees in Africa would be al-
                                        the UK proposals as unworkable and       lands and Denmark) in an attempt to       lowed to settle in European countries
                                        instead set out its own approach         establish a ‘coalition of the willing’.   although they would not be given the
                                        for establishing more accessible,        In April 2004 the UK government in-       same status afforded by European
                                        equitable and managed asylum             dicated that it had moved away from       law. Those deemed not to be at risk
                                        systems in Europe. The Commission        the idea of Regional Protection Areas     would be sent back to their country
                                        reiterated that any new approach         and was instead looking to develop        of origin.
                                        should aim to enhance international      ‘migration partnerships’ with third
                                        protection rather than shift respon-     countries in the region of origin.        Although no country has explicitly
                                        sibility for it elsewhere, and should    Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia have          vetoed the proposals, they appear to
                                        be underpinned by ten key principles     been identified as possible countries     be deeply divided over the practicali-
                                        – including the need to fully respect    with whom such partnerships might         ties of such a plan, with France, Swe-
                                        international legal obligations of       be established. Although it is not        den and, to a lesser extent, Ireland
                                        Member States, the need to improve       clear what any partnership might          being strongly opposed to proposals
                                        the quality of asylum decision mak-      consist of or how it might be imple-      for processing asylum applications
                                        ing in Europe, and a recognition that    mented, it has been reported that         outside Europe. The German propos-
                                        the most effective way of addressing     these proposals may involve plans to      als, however, are strongly backed by
                                        the refugee issue is by reducing the     process asylum seekers in their own       the Italian government which has
                                        need for refugee movements. The          region of origin in a scheme possibly     recently called on Libya to block ef-
                                        Commission also strongly recom-          linked to extra development aid and       forts by two million people allegedly
                                        mended an EU-wide resettlement           assistance. The Dutch and Danish          waiting to cross the Mediterranean.
                                        scheme to enable refugees to travel      governments have shown particular         As part of a unilateral agreement
                                        legally to the EU to access protection   interest in the UK’s proposal for         between Italy and Libya, the Ital-
                                        and durable solutions.                   extra-territorial processing, both        ian government is planning to send
                                                                                 governments having previously put         150 police officers to Libya to help
                                        Although the UK’s proposals were         forward similar agendas.                  train their Libyan counterparts. In
                                        rejected at the European level,                                                    addition, Libya will be purchasing
                 Immigration officers
                 searching trucks for   individual European countries – and      Germany objected strongly to the          military equipment and vehicles
                   illegal immigrants   to some extent the Commission            UK’s proposals but in October 2004        from Italy – including airplanes,
                     at Dover Docks,    itself – have continued to look to       put forward its own plans to set up       boats, helicopters and jeeps needed
                            Kent, UK.   Africa to solve the ‘asylum problem’.    transit camps in North Africa where       to block the trafficking of illegal im-
 UNHCR/A Johnstone
FMR 23                                                  Europe looks to Africa to solve the ‘asylum problem’ 25

migrants into Europe. Italy has said      security, and in some cases lead to      in less prosperous countries around

                                                                                                                            ASYLUM IN EUROPE
that plans to set up transit camps in     instability in the surrounding area.     the world, any new system of transit
Libya will go ahead, no matter what       There are also concerns that the         camps for processing asylum ap-
the opposition to them.                   quality of decision making may not       plications outside Europe is likely to
                                          be sufficient to ensure that those       be very expensive, particularly if de-
Although it has indicated that it is      who are in need of protection are        veloped in parallel with systems for
keeping an open mind about the            identified and not returned to their     spontaneous arrivals. These resourc-
various proposals, it is worth noth-      countries of origin. Even in European    es could arguably be devoted to more
ing that the European Commission          countries initial decisions are often    effectively addressing the underlying
has also proposed funding a scheme        wrong. Between 30 and 60% of all         causes of forced migration.
to help Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria,     people with refugee status in the EU
Tunisia and Libya to develop their        are only recognised as such after ap-    Perhaps most significantly the pro-
asylum laws and train personnel ca-       peals against initial decisions which    posals have raised concerns that the
pable of processing asylum claims in      have denied them refugee status.         concept of extra-territorial process-
close cooperation with UNHCR. Un-                                                  ing undermines the principles of
like the proposed transit camps, the      At a more strategic level, there are     international protection itself and
Commission-funded centres would           issues around whether the ‘asylum        could spell the beginning of the end
not be allowed to process asylum          problem’ has been correctly identi-      of any meaningful refugee protection
claims for Europe. Rather, having         fied and therefore whether transit       in Europe. Many NGOs have com-
signed up to 1951 Refugee Conven-         camps are the solution. As indicated     mented that the UK’s ‘new vision’
tion, countries which pick up asylum      earlier, the problem for Europe          proposal bears striking similarities
seekers – presumably on their way         has been identified in terms of the      to the highly controversial Austra-
to Europe – will process the appli-       numbers of asylum seekers and the        lian ‘Pacific Solution’, under which
cations themselves and determine          associated cost of processing appli-     the Australian government persuad-
whether the individual concerned is       cations. In terms of numbers, whilst     ed Nauru and Papua New Guinea to
in need of protection in that country.    the proportion of asylum seekers en-     permit the establishment of Austra-
Should asylum seekers fail to claim       tering Europe through Africa is not      lian-funded detention centres where
asylum and instead enter Europe,          insignificant, it does not represent     asylum seekers were held, pending
they will be deemed to have passed        the greatest proportion of applica-      determination of their status.2 In the
through a ‘safe third country’ and        tions. Large numbers of asylum seek-     same way it is feared that camps in
will be required to return there for      ers also come from other regions of      North Africa and elsewhere could be
their asylum application to be con-       the world where there is conflict and    used by Europe to dodge its respon-
sidered. Although the pilot scheme        political repression.                    sibility to deal with refugees and
should not be confused with the                                                    asylum seekers.
various proposals for transit centres     In 2003 and 2004 the largest number
and is in many ways quite different,      of asylum seekers to Europe came         At the very least the current policy
this initiative, when seen alongside      from the Russian Federation, Serbia      discussions and tone of the political
the others outlined here, suggests        and Montenegro, Turkey, China,           debate send a very negative mes-
that Europe is continuing to look to      India, Iraq and Iran. Although there     sage to other countries in the world
Africa for solutions to its perceived     were some
‘asylum problem’.                         African coun-
                                          tries in the list  Europe has prioritised fighting illegal immigration
The end of protection in                  of top refugee-
                                                             over fighting the root causes of refugee flight and
Europe?                                   producing
                                          countries –        improving refugee protection in third countries
Recent developments in asylum             including
policy and practice in Europe have        Nigeria, the                             hosting much larger numbers of
multiple implications. A number of        DRC and Somalia – these did not          refugees and asylum seekers than
organisations including Amnesty           count for a significant proportion of    those in Europe. Both historically
International and UNHCR have ex-          the overall total. Moreover, there is    and at the current time, the over-
pressed concern about the coun-           evidence that existing policies which    whelming majority of refugees are
tries in which the transit camps are      have tried to prevent people from ac-    located in the developing world,
proposed to be located. Whilst they       cessing Europe have simply pushed        close to their countries of origin. It
may be the most appropriate from a        people underground and increased         is arguably here that political effort
geographical point of view, several       their vulnerability.                     and financial resources should be
of the countries – most notably Libya                                              focused. These efforts should aim at
                                          Similarly, in terms of cost it appears
and Algeria – do not themselves live                                               addressing the root causes of forced
                                          that analyses of the ‘asylum prob-
up to international human rights                                                   migration flows and at supporting
                                          lem’ and the proposed solution are
standards and cannot therefore be                                                  neighbouring countries in protect-
                                          not in line with one another. Whilst
expected to safely house asylum                                                    ing those who have no choice but to
                                          it is true that the estimated $10bn
seekers whilst a decision is being                                                 leave their countries of origin.
                                          spent each year by the industrialised
made. Moreover, experience shows
                                          states on their asylum systems is        Joining up European policies
that large-scale refugee camps,
                                          substantially greater than the $1.1bn
wherever they are located, often
                                          that UNHCR spends on the 20 mil-         Since the early 1990s the EU has
have their own internal difficulties in
                                          lion refugees and displaced persons      recognised that it needs a
terms of both service provision and
                    26   Europe looks to Africa to solve the ‘asylum problem’                                                                        FMR 23
                         comprehensive approach to migra-         a number of ‘gaps’ (institutional,        and development aid policy, and
                         tion, addressing political, human        financial and conceptual) that have       Common Agricultural Policy. With its
                         rights and development issues in         obstructed efforts in this area for the   great comparative advantage deriv-
                         countries and regions of origin          past 50 years. These gaps are due         ing from its presence in numerous
                         and transit, and that this requires      in large part to differences in policy    geographical locations, sectors and
                         combating poverty, improving living      objectives and targets, where for         policy fields, the EU is well posi-
                         conditions and job opportunities,        instance powerful economic interests      tioned to take a lead in the migra-
                         preventing conflicts, consolidating      stand to lose if human rights and         tion-development field. The question
                         democratic states and ensuring re-       poverty reduction policies are given      which remains is whether it has the
                         spect for human rights, in particular    priority.                                 political courage to do so.
                         the rights of minorities, women and
                         children.3 In reality, however, Europe   The most effective and durable solu-      Heaven Crawley (email
                         has prioritised fighting illegal immi-   tion to Europe’s ‘asylum problem’ is Director of
                         gration over fighting the root causes    is to address the root causes of the      AMRE Consulting, an independent
                         of refugee flight and improving          initial flight. Although this is widely   research company specialising in
                         refugee protection in third countries.   understood and accepted, it is prov-      UK and European asylum and mi-
                         This has resulted in lack of coher-      ing difficult to turn rhetoric into re-   gration issues (
                         ence between the EU’s measures to        ality. Tackling the underlying causes
                                                                                                            1. The UK proposal can be found at www.refu-
                         integrate migration issues into exter-   of forced migration is not easy. But
                         nal policies and its human rights and    if it can be achieved it offers rewards   blair_newvision_report.pdf
                         development objectives.                  that go way beyond headlines in the
                                                                                                            2. See FMR 13
                                                                  national press.                           FMR13/fmr13.7.pdf
                         Proposed new approaches to tackling
                         the ‘asylum problem’ similarly fail      There remains huge unused and             3. Tampere European Council 15/16 October
                                                                                                            1999, Presidency Conclusions (para 11), available
                         to take a genuinely long-term view       untapped potential for ‘joined            at
                         of forced migration issues – because     up’ policy making in Europe that
                         of the institutional context in which    establishes coherence across the
                         policy making takes place and do-        EU’s policies in the areas of conflict    Asylum seekers from various countries at the Sangatte
                         mestic political electoral pressures.    prevention, Common Foreign and            Red Cross centre, near Calais, France.
                         It is also due in significant part to    Security Policy, trade, humanitarian
 UNHCR/H J Davies
FMR 23                                                                                                                      27

Integration and dispersal

                                                                                                                                 ASYLUM IN EUROPE
in the UK                                            by David Griffiths, Nando Sigona and Roger Zetter

It is often suggested that Refugee Community-based                                  number of RCOs, particularly in the
                                                                                    dispersal regions, are among the
Organisations (RCOs) play a key role in assisting                                   most significant outcomes of dis-
refugee adaptation and integration in the UK. But what                              persal. Dispersal has brought to the
                                                                                    regions new ethnic/national groups
happens when the reception policy for asylum seekers                                – from francophone Africa, Kosovo

and refugees is fundamentally changed?                                              and Bosnia, for example – as well as
                                                                                    groups that were well established in

           hen asylum seekers and         Nationality Department of the Home        London but had no foothold in the
           refugees were relatively few   Office. The Act withdrew asylum           dispersal areas. In many cases, the
           in number in the UK, RCOs      seekers completely from all benefit       growth in the number of RCOs has
were considered to be prime movers        entitlements and charged NASS             intensified networking between refu-
in facilitating their integration. ‘In-   with the mandatory dispersal of all       gee organisations, local authorities
tegration’ is the process of ‘getting     asylum seekers, away from the pres-       and the main NGOs involved in dis-
used to’ the new environment, of          surised housing areas of the south-       persal. And there is strong anecdotal
individual adaptation, but also im-       east to areas of surplus in the older     evidence to suggest that RCOs make
plies a longer-term, two-way process      industrial cities in the Midlands, the    a vital contribution in meeting the
between refugees and the receiving        north and Scotland. Accommodation         welfare needs of their communities.
society. RCOs provided material           is contracted mainly from private
assistance and facilitated access to      landlords and some local authori-
                                                                                      Our community is very isolated,
the labour market and to the social       ties in so-called ‘cluster areas’ where
support systems of the host country.      services are coordinated by Regional        very vulnerable and contains
To a greater or lesser degree they        Consortia of local authorities, NGOs        many people who speak little
also provided political solidarity for    and accommodation contractors.
                                                                                      English and do not understand
their members in exile.                   Approximately 41,500 asylum seek-
                                          ers were dispersed in 2004.                 the British system. By running
However, alongside the increase in                                                    a drop-in fortnightly, it will en-
the number of asylum seekers in           This new regime has had many
the 1990s came the development of         far-reaching impacts and has been
                                                                                      able us to provide advice, inter-
increasingly hostile policies of deter-   subject to sustained criticism.             pretation and sign-posting for
rence and restrictionism towards          This criticism stems partly from            asylum seekers. But also it will
forced migrants. Part of this policy      the fact that the messages com-
shift has involved fundamental            ing from the UK Home Office are             act as a social event for lonely
changes to the process of providing       mixed. Alongside the tightening of          and isolated Iranians.
welfare support and housing to asy-       asylum policies and the introduc-
                                                                                                       (Iranian refugee)
lum seekers whilst they are waiting       tion of dispersal, the Home Office
for their applications to be decided.     has introduced a refugee integration
                                          strategy (introduced initially in 2000
Dispersal                                 and elaborated further in 2004 and
                                                                                      The Iraqi society is a simple so-
                                          2005). Refugee integration, like dis-
The UK’s Asylum and Immigration           persal, is based upon the principle of      ciety... There are stronger fam-
Act 1999 marked a radical shift in        developing regional refugee strate-         ily and neighbourhood ties and
British asylum policy by introducing      gies coordinated by local authority         support. In the UK…[you] have
new procedures for the reception          consortia and involving RCOs as
                                          potential partners. However, recent
                                                                                      to do everything by yourself.
and accommodation of asylum seek-
ers pending their claim for status        research carried out in London and          The only way to get support, if
determination in the UK. A previ-         two dispersal regions (Birmingham           you don’t know how the sys-
ously decentralised system which          in the West Midlands and Manches-
                                                                                      tem works here, it’s your com-
allowed asylum seekers to live where      ter in the Northwest)1 suggests that
they wanted to – typically, where         dispersal has had a marked effect on        munity. If you have a proper
they had access to social networks        the community-based organisations           community [organisation], with
and communities – and to access           supporting refugees and asylum              a small management, some
the mainstream welfare benefits           seekers, and that these effects are
                                                                                      paid workers able to translate
system was replaced by a centralised      not always positive.
process.                                                                              and support you and a venue
                                          Integration or marginalisation?             to gather together, life could be
A new agency, the National Asylum                                                     much easier.
Support Agency (NASS), was estab-         The increase in the size and diversity
                                                                                                 (Iraqi Kurdish refugee)
lished within the Immigration and         of refugee communities and in the
                   28   Integration and dispersal in the UK                                                                            FMR 23
                        The RCOs, in some cases, also pro-        new arrangements as representatives
                        vide training and routes into paid        of their particular ‘communities’.
                        employment. Some Somali organisa-         As a result it is very hard to access     Support groups want to apply
                        tions have set up internet cafés, for     funding. This is a major impediment       to all refugee organisations the
                        example. By helping asylum seekers        to developing structures and capaci-      same templates but they don’t
                        and refugees understand the welfare       ties to help their communities settle
                        system, RCOs are assisting their          in and integrate.
                                                                                                            really know how to relate with
                        integration into the structures of the                                              the communities individually.
                        receiving society.                        Beyond meeting basic needs?               They look at them as a whole
                                                                                                            but they never go to talk with
                        However, some of the effects of           Despite the positive benefits as-
                        dispersal policy have been paradoxi-      sociated with the development of
                        cal because RCOs operate within a         RCOs in the dispersal regions, most         (Sierra Leone women’s group)
                        set of external constraints. Thus         RCOs at present simply do not have
                        the local authorities, NGOs and the       the resources which would enable
                                                                                                          model of the British voluntary sector
                        main funding bodies in London and         them to contribute to the long-term
                                                                                                          are the primary reasons given. But in
                                                                  integration of refugees. Their role
                                                                                                          an environment which they rightly
                                                                  has been and continues to be es-
                   The city council decides this is                                                       perceive to be increasingly hostile to-
                                                                  sentially ‘defensive’ – plugging the
                   how we are going to tackle the                                                         wards refugees and asylum seekers
                                                                  gap and meeting essential needs
                                                                                                          at both national and local levels, the
                   problem and we are forced to                   – rather than being actively engaged
                                                                                                          wish to reduce ‘visibility’ and remain
                   fit a square peg into the round                in the development of individual
                                                                                                          on the margins cannot be ignored.
                                                                  and community resources. In our
                   hole.                                          study, only a very small minority of
                                       (Somali RCO)                                                       In any case, formal organisations are
                                                                  RCOs have the resources to run the
                                                                                                          only the visible part of a larger pic-
                                                                  education, training and employment
                                                                                                          ture which includes a vast network
                                                                  programmes which would promote
                   There is a huge problem of                                                             of informal, transient, unnamed and
                                                                  long-term integration into the labour
                   representativeness. Local au-                  market.
                                                                                                          unofficial forms of social organisa-
                                                                                                          tion. The degree to which formally
                   thorities want to have one RCO
                                                                                                          constituted RCOs are at the centre of
                   speaking for [a] community and                 There are additional factors which
                                                                                                          official refugee networks, or periph-
                                                                  also cast doubt on the role that
                   this often is not possible due to                                                      eral to the main ‘informal’ sources
                                                                  RCOs are often assumed to play
                   social, cultural and historical                                                        of community activity, with respect
                                                                  in assisting refugee adaptation
                                                                                                          to how integration takes place, is
                   reasons.                                       and integration in the UK. One of
                                                                                                          thus very uncertain. In the cur-
                                    (Refugee Action)              these is the important distinction
                                                                                                          rent context, it cannot be assumed
                                                                  that emerges between formal and
                                                                                                          that formally constituted RCOs are
                                                                  informal networking in refugee
                        the regions still dominate how new                                                automatically the hub of community
                                                                  communities. There is, for example,
                        RCOs get established and are ‘legiti-                                             activity and the prime movers in
                                                                  a notable resistance on the part of
                        mised’ – or not, as the case may be.                                              fostering integration in community
                                                                  specific refugee groups to formal-
                        Institutionalised support can skew                                                members.
                                                                  ising and institutionalising their
                        decision-making capacity and agenda
                                                                  networks. Not wishing to be part of
                        setting in favour of the pre-existing                                             If integration is judged in terms of
                                                                  formal channels or to participate
                        major players involved in the disper-                                             a two-way process between refugees
                                                                  in the competitive funding-driven
                        sal process. It is perhaps less a part-                                           and the receiving society, then this
       Liberian family  nership of old and new, than
           (part of UK  a patron-client relationship,
           resettlement or at least a matter of getting
        programme for   past existing gatekeepers.
   vulnerable refugees)
          at orientation
                         The structure of the dis-
          meeting with
                         persal regime also inhibits
     Migrant Helpline
                         RCOs’ wider potential as
      aid worker, UK.
                        agents of integration for
                        those with Convention
                        refugee status. Conceived
                        within the broader rationale
                        of deterrence and the control
                        of welfare costs, dispersal is
                        predicated upon an institu-
                        tional model involving the
                        Regional Consortia, NGOs
                        and the private and volun-
                        tary sectors. RCOs have only
                        a secondary role within these
                                                                                                                                                    UNHCR/H J Davies
FMR 23                                                                           Integration and dispersal in the UK                   29
                                           promote community representation,          policy. RCOs are players on a stage

                                                                                                                                            ASYLUM IN EUROPE
                                           integration and equal opportunities        set designed by others. This raises
  We have small funding                    and the actual outcomes for specific       important questions about how the
  for training and bits and                ethnic groups. What is happening           limitations in the role assigned them
                                           to RCOs, particularly in relation to       can be overcome and about whether
  bobs of things but we are
                                           funding constraints and their rela-        more transparent forms of partner-
  struggling with funding.                 tionship to mainstream agencies, is        ship can flow from improved rec-
                                           rooted in the broader structural in-       ognition of the skills and capacities
  And one of the biggest
                                           equalities which continue to hamper        they undoubtedly possess.
  drawbacks is the big                     ethnic minorities in the UK.
  funders tend to [say]: ‘Oh,                                                         There is a seemingly intractable
                                           Conclusion                                 tension between participating and
  you don’t have a track                                                              organising independently as refugee
  record.’... Filling in the               This evidence suggests that far            communities, on the one hand, and
                                           from being central to the integra-         acceptance within official networks
  forms because some of the                tion of refugees in contemporary           and social relations, on the other.
  questions are not straight-              Britain, formally constituted RCOs         In the past, the broader framework
                                           may have been forced into a role           of migrant incorporation centred
  forward... We were strug-                                                           on multicultural race relations as a
                                           which perpetuates their marginality
  gling to understand what                 as service providers on the edges of       principal determinant of the ways in
                                           their communities. In such a situa-        which refugees, as other migrants in
  is the outcome, output,
                                           tion, informal networks may be more        earlier era, organised in Britain. As
  input, you see... Some-                  important than formal organisations        policy and practice harden, even the
                                           in the integration process. But we         phrase ‘refugee community organi-
  times we don’t know what
                                           should not ignore the fact that this       sation’ risks becoming a pejorative
  they want.                               is often a strategy of last resort.        term.
                (Sudanese RCO)             Although newly developing organisa-
                                           tions in the dispersal regions may         David Griffiths, Nando Sigona and
                                           choose to set up outside recognised        Roger Zetter work at the Develop-
does not appear to be the agenda of        channels, the possibilities for doing      ment and Forced Migration Re-
the dominant regional agencies and         so are limited and heavily dependent       search Unit, Oxford Brookes Univer-
institutions relating to RCOs. Their       on local resource availability.            sity. Email:
role in assisting refugee integration
is given as a policy objective but, as     Above all, the integrative poten-          1. Zetter, Griffiths and Sigona ‘Refugee Com-
                                                                                      munity Based Organisations in the UK: A Social
the RCOs remain junior partners in         tial of RCOs is severely limited by        Capital Analysis’, 2004. ESRC Research Grant
the local consortia, they receive little   the emphasis on deterrence and             R000239583. The research report is at www.
substantive support. There is a wide                                        
                                           control in asylum and immigration
gulf between policies which claim to

Is Europe failing separated
children?                                                                    by Diana Sutton and Terry Smith
The European Union’s Hague Programme aims at                1                         UNHCR. In 2003 SCEP published a re-
                                                                                      port analysing policies and practices
“strengthening freedom, security and justice” within                                  within 14 EU member states.2 SCEP
the EU in the next five years. What is likely to be the                                welcomed the EU’s reaffirmation
                                                                                      at the summit in Tampere in 1999
impact of this and other European policy developments                                 of the right of individuals to claim

on separated children?                                                                asylum but expressed concern that
                                                                                      regulations and guidelines emerging

                                                                                      from the EU have mainly focused
      eparated children are children       bers. All such children are separated
                                                                                      on deterrents and the tightening of
      under 18 years of age who are        children and entitled to international
                                                                                      controls rather than advancing an
      outside their country of origin      protection under a broad range of in-
                                                                                      individual’s rights.
and separated from both parents or         ternational and regional instruments
from their previous legal or custom-        The Separated Children in Europe
                                                                                      There is little evidence of a strong
ary primary caregiver. Some children       Programme (SCEP) is a joint initiative
                                                                                      rights-based approach to children
are totally alone while others may be      of some members of the Interna-
                                                                                      at EU level as immigration control
living with extended family mem-           tional Save the Children Alliance and
                                                                                      appears rather to take precedence
                   30   Is Europe failing separated children?                                                                          FMR 23
                        over the ‘best interest’ of the child    (these include where a separated          provision to submit children over 12
                        principle in the Convention on the       child is likely to turn 18 before a de-   years old to an integration test and
                        Rights of the Child (CRC).3 Although     cision on their asylum claim is made,     to deny those who fail it the right
                        the EU adopted a resolution on ‘un-      when they can receive free legal          to reunification. This is inconsistent
                        accompanied minors who are nation-       advice or if they are married).           with the provisions of the European
                        als of third countries’ in 1997 it is                                              Convention on Human Rights (Right
                        relatively weak and does not provide     Placements for children                   to Family Life) and CRC Article 1. In
                        a framework for improved protec-                                                   all cases the child’s ‘sponsor’ will
                        tion or care. The Hague Programme        The Temporary Protection Direc-           need to have held a residence permit
                        will also follow a security-led agenda   tive includes reference to the need       for a minimum of one year.
                        including the introduction of more       to find ‘appropriate placements’
                        measures to restrict access to the       for unaccompanied children. The           Within the text of the Regulation
                        EU and greater emphasis on finding       Directive notes that where possible       Allocating Responsibility For Examin-
                        solutions outside the EU. Those of       this should preferably be with adults     ing Asylum Applications in the EU,
                        us advocating full implementation        within their family or with whom          there is improved scope for family
                        of the CRC are critical of measures      they travelled to Europe – but it also    reunification, including provision for
                        which are purportedly designed to        deems accommodation in reception          the children of an applicant to join
                        assist separated children but which      centres to be appropriate. This is        their family in Europe. The regula-
                        in reality might put them at greater     worrying as it is difficult to see how    tion also allows – if humanitarian
                        risk.                                    children’s needs can be adequately        grounds dictate and it is practically
                                                                 met in such a setting.                    possible – for separated children to
                        Current EU asylum policy and                                                       be reunited with family members in
                                                                 Decision-making processes
                        children                                                                           another member state. As the defini-
                                                                                                           tion of family again excludes ‘extend-
                        In the move towards a common EU          Within the recent Directives there        ed’ family members, many separated
                        asylum policy [see article pp17-19]      are some references to seeking            children may be denied reunification
                        a number of Directives and Regu-         views from separated children but         with their principle carer. Further-
                        lations have emerged. Some may           only one reference to child-specific      more, where a separated child has
                        improve provision for children but       forms of persecution. The reference       travelled through more than one
                        many of these initiatives have been      to child-specific persecution is a        EU state, the state where the child
                        watered down and opportunities           useful development but limited if         claims asylum will be responsible for
                        to meet the needs of refugee and         the burden of proof still rests with      processing the claim. This Directive
                        migrant children have been missed.       the child who may have difficulties       should thus provide safeguards to
                        A number of themes emerge from           in understanding, or explaining, why      separated children both regarding
                        the Directives:                          they have claimed asylum. It would        adherence to ‘best interests’ and sta-
                                                                 have strengthened the Directive if it     bility. Regrettably, however, member
                        Guardianship                             had included the need to apply the        states appear to be ignoring many of
                                                                 ‘benefit of the doubt’ when chil-         the provisions of the Directive.
                        The SCEP advocates that adult            dren are attempting to prove their
                        representation should be provided        circumstances. Similarly, there is no     Within the Minimum Standards for
                        at all stages of the asylum process      reference to the age and maturity of      Reception Directive there is a call for
                        for all separated children under the     the child and how these will impact       prompt family tracing and a recom-
                        age of 18. Separated children may        on a child’s ability to accurately        mendation that those working with
                        not fully understand the asylum          comprehend the circumstances of           separated children should receive
                        determination procedure, or may          their departure from their country of     training. This is welcomed. SCEP
                        feel frightened and intimidated by       origin and how to convey this to the      emphasises, however, that family
                        it. While a number of Directives         investigating authorities.                tracing should be done in a confi-
                        consider guardianship provision for                                                dential manner that does not expose
                        separated children, the application      Family reunification                      the family to danger and in a manner
                        of the phrase ‘or any other appropri-                                              that reflects SCEP’s Statement of
                        ate representation’ invariably follows   The Directive on Family Reunifica-        Good Practice.
                        each mention of guardianship. This       tion narrowly defines the family unit,
                        considerably weakens these refer-        restricting it to parents and siblings.   Return
                        ences and is inconsistent with SCEP’s    This fails to appreciate the cultural
                        Statement of Good Practice. The          importance within some commu-             The Directive on the Definition of a
                        Directive on Minimum Standards           nities of the extended family and         refugee and other forms of protec-
                        in Asylum Procedures allows for          the harsh realities of life for many      tion states that asylum seekers may
                        unaccompanied children to be inter-      unaccompanied children, some of           be able to return to their country of
                        viewed as part of the asylum process     whose parents may be dead, missing        origin if they can return to an area of
                        without requiring the presence of        or imprisoned. There are restricted       the country (perhaps not where they
                        a representative present. It further     rights for children aged over 15          have previously lived) that is deemed
                        weakens the guardianship provision       years who may have to demonstrate         to be safe. Similarly they may be
                        by outlining circumstances where no      that they are dependent upon their        returned if the view is that non-state
                        representative should be appointed       parents and unable to live alone or       bodies active in the country can offer
                        to act on behalf of a separated child    support themselves. There is also a       protection. This does not seem an
     FMR 23                                                                       Is Europe failing separated children?                    31
     appropriate response for children        involuntarily. The Council will          protection measures for children it

                                                                                                                                                ASYLUM IN EUROPE
     who should only be returned to the       begin discussions early in 2005          is essential that:
     care of a named individual who is        on minimum standards for return
     both willing and able to care for        procedures, which will take into         ■ EU member states pursue policy
     them and where they will have op-        account special concerns regarding         harmonisation at the highest
     portunities for their further develop-   public order and security. Specifi-        level of current practice and
     ment.                                    cally, the proposals will include the      apply the standards outlined in
                                              launch of a European Return Fund           the CRC and SCEP’s Statement of
     Looking ahead                            and a special representative for a         Good Practice
                                              common readmission policy. In addi-      ■ decision makers ensure that the
     The Hague Programme is setting the       tion there will also be regional- and      child’s best interests are included
     framework for the EU’s response to       country-specific return programmes.        in all future legislation: separated
     asylum and migration in a num-           SCEP has prepared a position paper         children are children first and
     ber of areas. The second phase of        on the return of separated children        foremost
     harmonisation – due for completion       which sets out the case for voluntary    ■ the 1997 Council Resolution on
     by 2010 – aims to establish a com-       return and placing decisions within        Unaccompanied Minors who are
     mon asylum procedure and uniform         the context of the best interests of       Nationals of Third Countries
     status for those granted asylum          the child.4 Return should only go          be updated, made stronger and
     and subsidiary. A study will look at     ahead where it is demonstrably in          given binding legal force
     the feasibility of joint processing      the child’s best interests follow-       ■ children should not be held in ex-
     of asylum applications both within       ing careful assessment, planning           ternal processing centres along-
     and outside the EU. The proposals        and preparation. Liaison must take         side adults and without adequate
     to process applications outside the      place with appropriate authorities         systems for their protection
     territory of the EU are concerning       in the country of origin and children    ■ trafficked children be perceived
     for children. Given that children are    should only be returned to their           as victims rather than criminals
     potentially extremely vulnerable,        families or other named carers.            and interventions be informed
     holding them in external processing      Where a carer cannot be identified, it     by child protection procedures
                                                             is difficult to see how     rather than the maintenance of

Disturbingly, the Hague Programme makes                      institutional place-
                                                             ments can adequately
                                                                                         immigration control: the recom-
                                                                                         mendations set out in the excel-
no mention of conflict prevention                             support an unaccom-         lent EU expert group on traffick-
                                                             panied child through        ing’s report must be adopted.5
     centres alongside adults and without     the difficult process of transition
     adequate systems for their protec-       and reintegration following return.      Children need the highest protection
     tion could be dangerous and damag-       In such circumstances return should      standards. A common system must
     ing to their long-term development.      not be pursued as a durable solution.    not simply entrench member states’
                                                                                       lowest common denominator poli-
     The Programme contains a new
                                              Powers to exchange information           cies and laws but must look at best
     emphasis on the external dimension
                                              across borders between law enforce-      practice and the most effective way
     of asylum and migration. The aim
                                              ment agencies will be strengthened.      of protecting children.
     is to improve the capacity of non-
                                              This may have important posi-
     EU states with regard to migration
                                              tive implications for children, for      Diana Sutton is European Officer,
     management and refugee protection,
                                              example, facilitating information ex-    Save the Children Brussels. Email:
     to promote better access to durable
                                              change about people with a record of
     solutions and to address the practi-
                                              abusing children in order to prevent     Terry Smith is an Adviser to the
     cal problems associated with the
                                              them from working directly with          Separated Children in Europe Pro-
     return of migrants and failed asylum
                                              children. Currently this is not done     gramme (www.separated-children-
     seekers. There will be a continued
                                              and there have been recent cases Email:
     emphasis on linking migration and
                                              of paedophiles crossing borders
     development debates which may
                                              undetected and taking up employ-
     not necessarily be positive. We may                                               1.
                                              ment with children. However, there
     see more ‘conditionality clauses’                                                 annotated-final.pdf
                                              are negative implications as well: to
     – only narrowly defeated previously
                                              what other uses will the information     2. www.separated-children-europe-programme.
     – linking development aid directly                                                org/separated_children/publications/reports
                                              be put and how will it be protected?
     to managed migration. Disturb-
                                              Children who testify against their       3. The CRC is the world’s most widely ratified
     ingly, the Hague Programme makes                                                  convention. Unanimously adopted by the UN
                                              traffickers, for example, do so at
     no mention of conflict prevention,                                                General Assembly in 1989, its 54 articles
                                              great personal risk. Such information    encompass children’s civil, political, social and
     a significant omission given that
                                              needs to be kept confidential to avoid   economic rights. See:
     research commissioned by SCEP and
                                              potential reprisals to the child and
     by others has established that most                                               4. www.separated-children-europe-programme.
                                              their family.                            org/separated_children/publications/reports/
     children move and travel in order to                                              return_paper_final.pdf
     flee conflict.
                                              In the immediate future we can ex-       5.
     The Programme states that if             pect to see a strong security-driven     fsj/crime/trafficking/fsj_crime_human_traffick-
                                              agenda on asylum and migration           ing_en.htm
     migrants do not chose to return
     voluntarily they should be returned      policy and a strong returns pro-
                                              gramme. In order to achieve positive
                   32                                                                                                                FMR 23

                        Dutch ‘safe zone’ in Angola

                                                                                                                       by Joris van Wijk

                               he civil war that raged in An-    opened the orphanage in September        can now legitimately be denied tem-
                               gola until 2001 displaced mil-    2003 and the Immigration Depart-         porary (or any other) status because
                               lions of people. From August      ment started repatriating Angolan        of the existence of the orphanage.
                        1998 until April 2001 the Nether-        minors. By January 2005 more than        Other European countries – includ-
                        lands granted temporary status to all    600 Angolans – including many un-        ing Belgium and Switzerland – have
                        Angolans seeking asylum. Over rou-       accompanied minors – had returned        taken note and are considering fund-
                        ghly the same period, some 11,000        to Angola.                               ing a number of beds in the Mulem-
                        Angolans – of whom more than half                                                 ba orphanage in order to create their
                        were unaccompanied minors – ap-          Strikingly, only one of these children   own safe zones.
                        plied for asylum in the Netherlands.     is known to have taken shelter in the
                        None were forcibly repatriated.          orphanage; most preferred to seek        Joris van Wijk is a researcher at
                                                                 out members of their (extended)          the Faculty of Law, Free University
                        The fact that few returned encour-       family. The project, however, is         (Vrije Universiteit), Amsterdam.
                        aged friends and family back home        considered a success by the Dutch        Email:
                        to believe the Netherlands to be         authorities. Unaccompanied minors
                        a tolerant, welcoming country. It        from Angola applying for asylum
                        seemed that young Angolans could
                        travel to the Netherlands, be granted
                        temporary status and be able to
                        study, merely by virtue of com-
                        ing from war-torn Angola. Coming
                        from the province of Cabinda, for
                        example, where fighting was ongo-
                        ing, strengthened their claim, as did
                        being politically active for the UNITA

                        Dutch asylum policies seemed
                        particularly welcoming to unac-
                        companied minors. Firstly, minors
                        benefited from better reception
                        facilities, including access to educa-
                        tion. Asylum seekers over 18 with
                        temporary status did not have ac-
                        cess to language lessons or general
                        education as they were expected
                        eventually to return home. Secondly,
                        the Dutch courts stated that unac-
                        companied Angolan children could
                        not be repatriated as Angola lacked
                        ‘adequate reception facilities’ – ie
                        there were no safe orphanages in
                        Angola to accommodate repatriated

                        Creating a ‘safe zone’

                        In response to the increasing number
                        of asylum claims by unaccompanied
                        Angolan minors the Ministry of Jus-
                        tice decided to finance the moderni-
                        sation and expansion of the Mulemba
                        orphanage in Luanda, thereby creat-
                        ing the required ‘adequate reception
                        facility’. The Dutch Minister of Im-
                        migration and Integration officially

                        Unaccompanied minors, Luanda, Angola
                                                                                                                                                  Joris van Wijk
FMR 23                                                                                                                      33

Wasted human resources:

                                                                                                                                 ASYLUM IN EUROPE
employers ignore refugees’
potential                                                                                         by Berend Jonker

Many refugees experience great difficulty finding                                    occupational skills, language skills,
                                                                                   dedication and having a strong work
employment. When they do find work, it is often well                                ethic. They stressed the importance
below their capacity. Doctors, lawyer and teachers work                            of taking every job opportunity and
                                                                                   setting realistic goals.
as cleaners, taxi drivers or sales assistants. How can
refugees find suitable jobs and how can employers                                     We learned how to persevere and
benefit more from refugees’ skills?                                                   endure. This is our most impor-
                                                                                     tant skill, which should be valued

         cross Europe, employers are     44 were younger and 105 were older.         more. We learned how to survive.
         experiencing difficulty in      The majority came from Africa and                   (Kenyan teacher in the UK)
         recruiting both skilled and     the Middle East but also included
unskilled staff. The overall employ-     refugees from the borders of Europe,      Many refugees suffer from a lack
ment rate in the EU stands at 63.4%,     Asia and Latin America.                   of confidence when they first arrive
significantly below the level of 72%                                               in the host country. They often feel
in the US. Meeting the EU’s goal of      Almost all interviewees were educat-      isolated and unable to compete
raising this to 70% by 2010 requires     ed before they arrived in their host      with locals for jobs. To regain their
the creation of 20 million jobs. The     country. 76% had studied at a higher      confidence it is important that refu-
number of elderly persons in Europe      professional or academic level, of        gees start integrating into society
is set to grow dramatically – from       which 63% had completed their stud-       by following language courses or
61 million persons aged over 65 in       ies and 14% were still studying. Be-      doing voluntary work, for example,
2000 to an estimated 103 million in      fore arriving in the EU, four-fifths of   as soon as possible after arrival.
2050. At the same time the European      interviewees were using their skills      Social networks and moral support
Union receives over 350,000 asylum       in their countries of origin – 33%        from family, friends, community,
applications per annum. It thus          were working in health, 14% in engi-      social workers and careers advisors
makes both economic and social           neering and 5% in IT. Many had built      are also seen as important factors. In
sense to better utilise this huge        up considerable working experience.       many cases, social and professional
potential.                               In the host countries, 260 refugees       networks led directly or indirectly to
                                         (88%) were in paid employment at          job opportunities.
The RESOURCE Project                     the time of the interview. (It should
                                         be noted that this does not necessar-
                                                                                   Language skills
The Refugees’ Contribution to            ily represent the usual situation of
Europe (RESOURCE) Project is a joint     refugees in Europe where many refu-
                                                                                   Most interviewees agreed that ad-
initiative of European refugee agen-     gee professionals are unemployed or
                                                                                   equate language skills are essential
cies in all (pre-expansion) EU states    under-employed.)
                                                                                   when seeking work or trying to
except Denmark. Through desk re-                                                   continue training or education. Good
search and interviews with employed      Although conditions for refugees
                                                                                   communication skills are particular-
refugees in 14 countries, the project    vary from country to country, there
                                                                                   ly important in the health and social
analysed practices and policies          is great similarity in successful
                                                                                   care sector, and speaking the host
affecting refugees’ participation in     pathways to employment in each
                                                                                   language fluently is therefore vital.
the European labour market. It has       country.
                                                                                   Many of the interviewees at times
particularly focused on how refugees’                                              still felt insecure and vulnerable in
skills, qualifications and working ex-   Personals skills and networks             their current jobs because of their
perience are being used in sectors of                                              language skills.
the labour market – health and social    Almost unanimously, those inter-
care, IT and engineering – currently     viewed believed that their own skills,    80% of the interviewees had skills
experiencing skills shortages.           competence and personality were           in three languages or more – an
                                         the most important factors that           advantage in many jobs, in particular
The Project interviewed 297 refugee      helped them find suitable employ-         in health and social care services
professionals (up to 25 in each coun-    ment. The characteristics mentioned       and IT. In Ireland, many interviewees
try). They were asked about their        include determination, perseverance,      found employment in the voluntary
pathways to employment and how           motivation, positive thinking, self-      sector working with immigrants
they had overcome difficulties. Two      confidence, initiative, patience, flex-   because of their knowledge of other
thirds of the interviewees were male,    ibility, sense of humour, good social     languages. Engineers and IT spe-
138 were between 30-39 years old,        and communication skills, expertise,      cialists stressed the importance of
                    34 Wasted human resources: employers ignore refugees’ potential                                                       FMR 23
                                                                                                            regulations that are not designed for
                           Learning the language is the most important thing of all in Fin-                 refugees.
                           land. Many think they can cope with using English. Yes, they can
                           cope in everyday life but not in working life.                                   Prior qualifications and work
                                                       (Iranian health professional in Finland)

                                                                                                            It is up to the employer to assess
                         learning the technical or business       to earn a living interfered with any      whether a particular individual is
                         language in their profession. Unfor-     study plans and in countries where        qualified to meet workplace require-
                         tunately it is not always possible to    interviewees could access unem-           ments. The problem is that most
                         access appropriate language courses.     ployment benefits, the obligation to      employers are not familiar with for-
                         Many courses are too slow or sim-        apply for any kind of job seriously       eign qualifications. Some professions
                         plistic for highly educated people.      hindered training possibilities. Fur-     – such as the medical profession
                         Additionally, in some countries, such    thermore, lack of accessible schol-       – are known as ‘regulated’ or ‘regis-
                         as the Netherlands, there were long      arships or grants to pay for fees,        tered’ professions. Access to these
                         waiting lists for languages courses.     books, equipment, travel, childcare       requires a process of recognition and
                                                                  and basic living costs prevented          registration with the appropriate au-
                         Additional studies in the host           many interviewees from studying.          thority. The systems of recognition
                         country                                                                            vary from country to country but
                                                                  Support from voluntary                    are often complex, expensive and,
                         Many interviewees mentioned ad-          organisations and refugee                 above all, time-consuming. These
                         ditional studies in the host country     community groups                          procedures may involve periods of
                         (vocational, higher education and                                                  further training or study, working
                         practical training on the job) as key    Many interviewees mentioned that          under supervision, examinations or
                         to finding suitable employment.          support from NGOs and refugee             a combination of all of these. Most
                         Through such studies they became         community organisations (RCOs) was        interviewees who have been through
                         accustomed to the ways and stan-         essential in helping them find em-        recognition procedures have found
                         dards of working in the host country     ployment. Initially, many benefited       that their diplomas were not recog-
                         and, more importantly, obtained          from services such as information         nised or only partially recognised.
                         qualifications that were – in contrast   provision, housing support, legal
                         to their third country qualifications    assistance, financial support and         For such reasons most interviewees
                         – recognised by employers. Those         language courses. Later on, services      felt that their prior education and
                         interviewed also found that study-       such as careers advice, job search        work experience were underestimat-
                         ing gave them confidence through         courses, support with job applica-        ed by employers and therefore of lit-
                         updating their knowledge and             tions, grants for study/training, ar-     tle value in the job-seeking process.
                         building up networks in their profes-    ranging job placements or voluntary       What really counted were additional
                         sional field. Unfortunately in many      work and mentoring programmes             studies and working experience in
                         countries there is a lack of free or     were helpful. NGOs and RCOs also          the host country. Once they were
                         affordable training courses; those on    played an important part in giv-          working, however, their employers
                         offer are often aimed at less skilled    ing moral support and providing           started to value their prior skills and
                         work and do not build on refugees’       relevant networks that sometimes          experience which had given them, for
                         prior skills and working experience.     indirectly led to employment.             example, self-confidence and skills
                         Accessing higher education is also                                                 of communication and management.
                         difficult. Most higher education         The job search process in host coun-
                                                                                                            Work experience in the host
                                                                  tries is often different from in their
                                                                  home countries. In many cases those
                   Only Finnish education is valued               interviewed had failed to get jobs        Most interviewees agree that it is
                   here… if you have a certificate from           because they did not have enough          very difficult to get into suitable em-
                   somewhere else, however valuable it            knowledge of the recruitment pro-         ployment without work experience
                   may be, the Ministry of Education will         cess (such as applications and job        in the host country. One interviewee
                                                                  interviews). Therefore schemes that       said: “You cannot get a job because
                   not accept it and employers will not
                                                                  offered individual employment sup-        you do not have working experience
                   value it either.                               port were particularly helpful in the     – but how can you build up work-
                                    (Refugee from Somalia         job search process.                       ing experience without a job?” This
                                 working in IT in Finland)                                                  vicious circle is difficult to break but
                                                                  In contrast to support from the           most interviewees eventually found
                                                                  voluntary sector, most interviewees       ways to do so.
                         institutions have strict requirements    (in all countries) receive no or little
                         and procedures for allowing foreign      useful support from governmental
                         students to enter their courses; these                                             Many mentioned volunteering as
                                                                  organisations in their attempts to        a successful way to build up work
                         requirements may not take into ac-       enter the labour market. Employ-
                         count the fact that refugees cannot                                                experience in the social sector. In
                                                                  ment agencies in many countries           other sectors, interviewees had to
                         always prove their qualifications, or    were considered ineffective because
                         produce original documents.                                                        take a couple of steps down the
                                                                  of their lack of knowledge of refu-       ladder. Experienced engineers, who
                                                                  gees’ specific needs and the value        back home had been supervising
                         Particularly in countries with less      of their diplomas, their focus on the
                         developed welfare systems, the need                                                many employees, started working on
                                                                  low-income sector and their strict        the shop floor again, working their
FMR 23                                       Wasted human resources: employers ignore refugees’ potential                   35
way up within the company. Others         permit after a certain period. During     Conclusion

                                                                                                                                 ASYLUM IN EUROPE
were able to gain some experience         the asylum procedure, opportuni-
through work placements as part of        ties to undertake language tuition,       Refugee agencies need to make the
their studies or through recruitment      vocational training or education          business case for refugees. Euro-
agencies.                                 were often limited. Financial difficul-   pean member states need to take on
                                          ties and finding a place to live were     board refugees’ experiences in the
In countries where refugees are not                                                 job market and develop policies and
                                          additional obstacles. Clearly, this
entitled to welfare benefits (such as                                               measures that make the pathways to
                                          long waiting period had a damaging
Greece, Italy and Spain), the inter-                                                employment quicker and easier. In-
                                          influence on their self-esteem and
viewees were often forced to accept                                                 stead of considering asylum seekers
                                          confidence, seriously hindering their
low-skilled and badly-paid jobs. In                                                 and refugees as a threat or a burden
                                          integration process.
countries where refugees receive                                                    to society, we should acknowledge
unemployment benefits, some inter-        Many interviewees experienced prej-
                                                                                    that these new citizens may con-
viewees were not allowed to accept        udice in the job-seeking process as
                                                                                    tribute substantially to their host
voluntary work or work placements.        well as in the workplace and in daily
                                                                                    country. This approach requires a
Many interviewees were in a situa-        life. Being responsible for a family in
                                                                                    major change in attitude and policy
tion where they had to do manual          combination with a lack of childcare
                                                                                    towards these new immigrants: to
jobs during the day while trying to       facilities (especially for single moth-
                                                                                    encourage rather than discourage, to
improve their chances by studying         ers with young children) were men-
                                                                                    include rather than exclude.
at night.                                 tioned as barriers to employment.
                                          Some older interviewees found that        Berend Jonker is a Project Manager
Bureaucracy and                           their age presented an additional         at Education Action International,
discrimination                            barrier. The combination of age and       London.
                                          the inevitable gap in their employ-       The results of the RESOURCE
Many interviewees were confronted         ment record because of becoming a         Project are presented in 14 country
with lengthy asylum determination         refugee made their position as job        reports and an overall summary
procedures and poor reception con-        seekers even more disadvantaged.          online at:
ditions. In most countries they were      Finally, red tape and bureaucracy in      org/media/Resource_project.doc
not allowed to work as asylum seek-       general were mentioned as further
ers, or could only apply for a work       obstacles.

Albania – Europe’s reluctant
gatekeeper                                                                                  by Ridvan Peshkopia
Post-communist Albania has become a transit point for refugees, asylum seekers and
economic migrants. Asylum policies and procedures put in place under UNHCR and
EU tutelage are fragile and serve the interests of Europe, not Albania.

      rior to 1990 Albania was isolat-    forge new connections with the            passed. It generally meets the 1951
      ed from East and West, strictly     international community and the           Refugee Convention criteria on the
      controlled all movement across      Albanian parliament rapidly ratified      refugee definition, RSD and refugee
its borders and did not recognise the     the Convention in 1992. However,          protection. Under its provisions, the
1951 Refugee Convention. Border           it took a further six years – and the     OfR receives asylum applications
controls collapsed as the post-com-       threat of a mass outflow of Kosovar       and conducts interviews and also
munist authorities were keen to           refugees – before the Office for          serves as a collegial decision-mak-
allow Albanians to leave the poverty-     Refugees (OfR), a small unit of the       ing body at the first level. Rejected
stricken country. People smuggling        Ministry of Local Government, was         asylum seekers have the right to
– both across the Adriatic Sea to Italy   established. The status of OfR was        appeal to the National Commission
and over the Albanian-Greek border        undefined and it found itself in an       for Refugees (NCR), an eight-member
– increased dramatically. The smug-       asylum and immigration legislative        committee bringing together govern-
gling industry has been boosted by        vacuum which left it little to do in      ment agencies and representatives of
the ease with which Albanian visas        terms of establishing procedures for      two NGOs – the Chamber of Lawyers
can be obtained, Albania’s dire need      refugee status determination (RSD)        and the Albanian Committee of Hel-
for foreign currency and high rate of     and refugee protection.                   sinki. The National Commissioner for
corruption among public officials.                                                  Refugees chairs the OfR and NCR.
                                          The development of an
In the early 1990s UNHCR persuaded        Albanian asylum system                    The establishment of an asylum sys-
Albania and other newly-elected                                                     tem based on individual applications
Balkan governments to sign up to          Albania’s new Constitution in 1998        was undermined by humanitarian
the Refugee Convention. The new           stipulated the right of asylum and        catastrophes in Kosovo. Rather than
regimes were eager to extend and          the country’s first law on asylum was     considering individual cases, the
                   36 Albania – Europe’s reluctant gatekeeper                                                                           FMR 23

                       OfR responded to the needs of the         in many respects it is illusory and,      the EU must “include a clause on
                       Albanian government and interna-          in effect, often serves as a tool to      joint management of migration flows
                       tional community to respond to the        facilitate human smuggling towards        and on compulsory readmission in
                       refugee crisis by accepting and then      the EU. Whatever their legal status       the event of illegal migration”. In its
                       returning Kosovars as a group. In the     – refugees, asylum seekers or illegal     eagerness to sign a Stabilization and
                       aftermath of the massive Kosovar          immigrants – the smuggled people          Association Agreement with the EU
                       refugee return, OfR continued to          strive to avoid contact with public       in December 2003 Albania agreed
                       care for some lingering Kosovar           officials and police of the transit       to this condition. The readmission
                       families. Procedures regarding RSD        countries. Only if the police catch       requirement will not only apply to
                       and refugee protection began to be        them, or they decide to give them-        Albanian citizens but also to immi-
                       put in place but were again set back      selves up (in cases when they lose        grants from other countries known
                       in spring 2001 by a short-lived move-     connections with their smugglers),        to have passed through Albania on
                       ment of ethnic Albanian refugees          do the Albanian authorities get           their way to the EU.
                       fleeing instability in Macedonia.         involved.
                                                                                                           Readmission poses enormous chal-
                       In October 2001 the Albanian Task         A UNHCR-led initiative – imple-           lenges, none of which are currently
                       Force on Asylum was belatedly             mented with the International             being addressed. Mass return of its
                       established with the participation        Organization for Migration and the        nationals would deprive Albania
                       of some domestic and international        MPO – seeks to pre-screen those who       of vital remittance income. And
                       actors. Its aim was to draft by-laws      have come to the attention of the         whilst the EU has the political and
                       to fill legal gaps in refugee integra-    authorities. Pre-screening is designed    economic muscle to compel illegal
                       tion. Three by-laws drafted in spring     to differentiate economic migrants,       immigrants’ countries of origin in
                       2002 – on education, health care and      victims of trafficking and asylum         the Middle East and Central Asia
                       employment – were included in a law       seekers and to provide appropriate        to sign similar agreements, it is
                       approved by parliament in August          legal and humanitarian assistance         not clear how Albania can possibly
                       2003. RSD procedures were estab-          tailored to their different needs.        persuade Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and
                       lished and a joint project between                                                  Turkey to take back their nation-
                       UNHCR, OfR and Peace through Jus-         This system has not significantly         als. Who is to pay for their needs in
                       tice, a local NGO, began to make le-      affected the illegal influx. Instructed   Albania or the costs of the increased
                       gal assistance available for refugees     by smugglers, many detained people        enforcement which will be required
                       and asylum seekers. In 2003 OfR was       seek asylum and are provided with         to prevent them attempting to return
                       renamed the Directory for Refugees        shelter, food, medical assistance and     to the EU? Would the presence of
                       and transferred to the Ministry of        legal aid. Only an insignificant num-     large numbers of readmitted asylum
                       Public Order (MPO), a necessary step      ber of them are sufficiently patient,     seekers/economic migrants affect
                       considering that the RSD process is       too poor or simply unlucky enough         the stability of a poor country with
                       much closer linked with police than       to go through the RSD procedure           high levels of unemployment? Aware
                       with local government.                    to the end. Most reestablish broken       of the difficulties the readmission
                                                                 connections with smugglers and con-       agreement might cause, the EU and
                       In addition to the issue of deter-        tinue their journey toward the West.      Albania have agreed to delay the
                       mining asylum claims, the issue of                                                  implementation of some clauses for
                       providing accommodation and sup-          Thus, rather than building a pro-         a period of two years.
                       port for refugees and asylum seekers      tection system for people in need,
                       has long concerned the Albanian           Albania, with the assistance of           The Albanian authorities have reluc-
                       authorities and UNHCR. For years,         UNHCR and under pressure from             tantly been persuaded to undertake
                       detained, illegally smuggled people       the EU, has established a system to       some steps toward legislative and
                       were initially kept in police stations,   support illegal immigrant smuggling.      administrative reform but the gov-
                       often without food or appropriate         None of those who have received           ernment has other priorities. There
                       sanitation, dependent on the whim         refugee status during recent years is     is no reason to believe that in the
                       of the police for their needs. UNHCR      thought to be in Albania anymore;         near future the Albanian asylum sys-
                       provided some local NGOs with             their whereabouts are unknown. The        tem might really serve refugees and
                       funds to arrange for accommodation        bulk of the 107 people whom the           asylum seekers from other countries.
                       of asylum seekers in privately owned      asylum institutions in Albania are        It is instead likely to continue to fuel
                       houses. In October 2001 a project         taking care are of Kosovars, leftovers    and facilitate human smuggling from
                       began to establish the first asylum       from the massive influx of 1999.          and through Albania to EU states.
                       seekers’ reception centre. The            All of them experience harsh social       Albania needs to reorient its asylum
                       Albanian government offered an old        problems.                                 and immigration policies to serve its
                       military barracks on the outskirts of                                               own, rather than EU, needs.
                       the capital, UNHCR obtained fund-         Albania’s place in Europe
                       ing through the European Commis-                                                    Ridvan Peshkopia is a graduate stu-
                       sion’s High Level Working Group’s         For Albania, asylum policy has never      dent at the University of Kentucky.
                       (HLWG) and the facility was opened        been part of the national agenda but      He was National Commissioner
                       in July 2003.                             has rather been the price of advanc-      for Refugees in Albania from 2001
                                                                 ing prospects of integration into         to 2002 and served two terms in
                       Illusory protection                       the EU. At their meeting in Seville in    the Albanian parliament. Email:
                                                                 June 2002 EU leaders stipulated that
                       Albania can now thus be said to           any country entering into coopera-
                       have a modern asylum system, yet          tion or association agreements with
FMR 23                                                                                                                         37

Europe and the rebuilding of

                                                                                                                                    ASYLUM IN EUROPE
Somalia                                                                                          by Kithure Kindiki
As Somalia stumbles towards peace, should Europe                                      giving financial or logistical support
                                                                                      to the refugee protection system has
assist in refugee repatriation and reconstruction?                                    been lost in this debate.

        million Somalis are thought        However, substantial and sustainable
                                                                                      Perhaps criticism of Europe’s role
        to have fled their country as      repatriation cannot be feasible with-
                                                                                      in refugee protection stems from
        a result of fighting and the       out a major post-conflict reconstruc-
                                                                                      a rigid interpretation of existing
collapse of the Somali state follow-       tion programme. After more than a
                                                                                      international refugee law, which
ing the overthrow of Mohamed Siad          decade of war and anarchy and years
                                                                                      rigidly defines state responsibilities
Barre in 1991. At the end of 2003          of drought, Somalia is one of the
                                                                                      for refugees. Beyond a common duty
nearly 280,000 officially registered       poorest countries in the world. There
                                                                                      to provide first asylum, there is no
Somali refugees and asylum seekers         are hardly any trained health work-
                                                                                      reason to expect every state to play
lived in some two dozen countries,         ers, minimal access to potable water
                                                                                      an identical refugee protection role.
half of them in Kenya and a fifth in       and the infrastructure is in chaos. It
                                                                                      Burden sharing for refugees should
Yemen. An estimated 350,000 Soma-          has one of the world’s highest rates
                                                                                      be seen within the framework of
lis remain internally displaced.1          of illiteracy. Refugees cannot be
                                                                                      ‘common but differentiated respon-
                                           expected to return to live in dignity
                                                                                      sibilities’, the principle of equity
Somalia’s transitional federal parlia-     and peace without substantial inter-
                                                                                      in international law endorsed by
ment – based in the Kenyan capital,        national assistance.
                                                                                      the World Summit on Sustainable
Nairobi – elected Colonel Abdullahi
                                                                                      Development in 2002.2 This concept
Yusuf Ahmed as president in Octo-          The Somali refugee question has
                                                                                      indicates that the responsibilities
ber 2004. This marked a successful         over the years been trapped in the
                                                                                      shouldered by states need not be
outcome to a two-year reconciliation       general migration debate in countries
                                                                                      identical and could usefully be wid-
process sponsored by the Intergov-         of the North. It is widely believed
                                                                                      ened to asylum issues
ernmental Authority on Develop-            that Somali nationals who may not
ment. There are cautious expecta-          necessarily be refugees use Kenya          On the basis of ‘common but differ-
tions for durable peace but major          and other neighbouring countries as        entiated responsibilities’ some states
obstacles remain. President Yusuf          transit points to Europe. Somali refu-     will be willing to provide temporary
has a warlord background, his ties to      gees in camps in Kenya and Yemen           protection but not be disposed to the
Ethiopia are controversial and there       uniformly aspire to resettlement in        permanent integration of refugees.
are reported splits within his cabinet.    the West.                                  Traditional immigration countries
Plans by the African Union to deploy                                                  such as the states of the EU provide
peacekeepers from Kenya, Djibouti          Somali refugees and Europe                 sites for permanent resettlement
and Ethiopia have sparked an angry                                                    for those refugees who cannot get
reaction from many Somalis, includ-        Estimating the number of Somalis           protection in the country of first
ing warlords and militant Islamists.       living in Europe is fraught with           asylum yet their countries of origin
There have been only limited donor         difficulty due to the large number         cannot guarantee safe return. Yet
pledges of support for the peace pro-      who live clandestinely. Somalis have       other states may assume a mix of
cess. Somaliland, the self-proclaimed      been among the top ten countries of        these roles.
independent state in northern Soma-        origin for asylum applications to the
lia, which has been the destination        EU for 15 years. It is therefore clearly   Repatriation of refugees and national
of most returning refugees, is barred      in the interest of European countries      reconstruction of Somalia will re-
from receiving bilateral aid as it is an   to support or even initiate post-con-      quire huge financial, logistical and
unrecognised nation.                       flict reconstruction efforts. Atten-       human resources not available to
                                           tion should be given not only to the       the states hosting refugees. Europe
However, this fourteenth attempt to        repatriation of Somalis from Europe        should be involved in post-conflict
end conflict in Somalia has brought        but also to their return from Kenya        reconstruction in Somalia and in
together its four major clans and          and other major centres of onward          refugee repatriation efforts, not
most of its warlords. Significant          movement to Europe.                        on the basis of the more informal
numbers of refugees have returned                                                     processes of discretionary charity
as UNHCR has implemented major             Europe’s commitment to refugee             or voluntarism but as an avenue for
repatriation programmes from Ethio-        protection has been the subject of         European states to make a valued
pia and Djibouti. UNHCR is prepar-         heated debate in local and interna-        contribution to the international
ing to close all but one of the refugee    tional politics as well as in academic     refugee protection system.
camps it has operated in eastern           writing. While I do not support a
Ethiopia since 1990 which at the           number of policies adopted by Euro-        Repatriation and reconstruc-
height of displacement were home to        pean states on asylum, it is my argu-      tion requirements
628,000 refugees. It estimated that        ment that often the very useful role
700,000 refugees have now returned         that European states play in provid-       The international community, and
to poverty-stricken Somaliland.            ing resettlement for refugees and in       particularly the EU, should seize the
                   38   Europe and the rebuilding of Somalia                                                                                 FMR 23
                        opportunity offered by this window         accept resettlement submissions for     sustained post-conflict strategy. Re-
                        of peace to:                               individual cases of Somali refugees     habilitating Somalia’s battered roads,
                                                                   who meet the resettlement criteria,     ports and other infrastructure,
                        ■ assist the transitional govern-          and for whom resettlement and not       re-establishing education and health
                          ment to relocate from Nairobi to         repatriation is the most appropriate    services, undertaking effective dem-
                          Mogadishu as soon as possible            durable solution. However, publi-       ining and demobilisation, establish-
                        ■ invest significantly in peace and        cised programmes such as those          ing property restitution mechanisms
                          reconstruction                           promoting group resettlement to         and building civil society and public
                        ■ send peacekeepers to disarm              Europe, America, Australia and other    sector capacity can only happen if
                          militia and deny warlords oppor-         developed countries should be put       there is substantial international
                          tunities to regroup and disrupt          on hold once the mass repatria-         assistance.
                          peace                                    tion programmes commence. Local
                        ■ ensure that international support        integration should be promoted for      Kithure Kindiki lectures in interna-
                          is coordinated with Somalia’s            those Somali refugees who are too       tional law at the University of Nai-
                          government and promotes                  old to return or who have estab-        robi, Kenya. Email: kkindiki@yahoo.
                          national ownership of the peace          lished strong social or economic
                          process                                  links in the asylum countries.
                                                                                                           1. World Refugee Survey 2004: www.refugees.
                        ■ work closely with governments
                          of states hosting Somali refugees        Refugee repatriation will not succeed   2.
                          and asylum seekers                       unless additionally supported by a
                        ■ channel assistance through clan
                          elders approved by the leaders
                          of the dominant movements in
                          the respective areas: this could
                          restore order and enable future
                          district and local authorities to
                          acquire legitimacy.

                        Rushed repatriation would be disas-
                        trous. Immediate large-scale return
                        of refugees from Kenya could trigger
                        new conflicts over access to already
                        limited natural resources in southern
                        Somalia. Host countries should be
                        financially supported to implement
                        five-year repatriation programmes.
                        Plans should be made for phased
                        hand-over of refugee camps and
                        other infrastructure from the UN and
                        NGOs to host government. Returnees
                        should be given substantial induce-
                        ments, perhaps in the form of gener-
                        ous start-up or equipment grants.
                        They should not be pressured to
                        return prematurely by any reduction
                        in food rations or water supplies to
                        refugee camps.

                        There is a need to facilitate fact-
                        finding delegations from each
                        host country, comprising refugee
                        representatives of the major clans
                        (including women) to visit potential
                        areas of return as soon as the new
                        government establishes a base in
                        Somalia. They could assess the situa-
                        tion on the ground and discuss with
                        their communities the modalities of

                        Alongside support for repatria-
                        tion, European and other North-
                        ern countries should continue to

                        Somali refugees at Hagadera camp, Kenya.
                                                                                                                                                         UNHCR/B Press
                 FMR 23                                                                                                                                     39

                 Chechen refugees denied

                                                                                                                                                                 ASYLUM IN EUROPE
                 access to Europe                                                                              by Martin Rozumek

                 A decade of conflict has forced an estimated 350,000                               not separately recorded from that
                                                                                                   on asylum seekers from other parts
                 people to flee Chechnya. For Chechen asylum seekers                                of the Russian Federation, UNHCR
                 Central Europe has become the transit point for those                             estimates that the vast majority of
                                                                                                   asylum seekers from the Russian
                 seeking entry to the EU. Expansion of the EU has failed                           Federation are Chechens.5 Today

                 to offer protection and imposed further burdens on                                Chechens comprise the largest single
                                                                                                   group registered with official refugee
                 asylum systems in new member states.                                              status determination (RSD) systems

                                                                                                   operated by the Czech Republic,
                        he tiny republic of Chechnya      rights abuses. In March 2005 Human
                                                                                                   Poland and Austria.
                        proclaimed its independence       Rights Watch noted that “Chechnya
                        from Russia in late 1991, a       continues to be the single largest
                                                                                                   Clearly, 30-40,000 Chechens cannot
                 declaration that went unrecognised       human rights crisis in Europe and
                                                                                                   keep arriving at Europe’s doorstep
                 by Russia and the international          the only place on the continent
                                                                                                   every year without causing a policy
                 community in general. Since then,        where civilians are killed and ‘disap-
                                                                                                   reaction. This policy reaction is most
                 Chechen civilians have lived through     peared’ on a daily basis as a result
                                                                                                   clearly being seen in the newest
                 two major waves of conflict: the first   of an armed conflict”.3 The ongo-
                                                                                                   EU member states, which have less
                 between 1994 and 1996, when an           ing Russian ‘cleansing’ campaign
                                                                                                   experienced asylum systems but are
                 estimated 50,000 people were killed      and enforced closures of camps
                                                                                                   receiving nearly as many Chechens
                 and the capital city of Grozny was       for Chechen IDPs in the neighbour-
                                                                                                   as more traditional asylum countries.
                 largely destroyed and the second         ing republic of Ingushetia are well
                                                                                                   Further, it is the accession states that
                 from 1999 when Russian troops            documented.4
                                                                                                   now make up the new ’frontiers’of
                 re-entered Chechnya in response to
                                                                                                   the EU and which are expected to
                 a series of bombings in Moscow and       Chechen asylum seekers in                protect Europe’s borders.
                 Dagestan blamed on Chechen in-           Europe
                 surgents. More than 600,000 people
                                                                                                   One of the consequences of this
                 were displaced between 1999 and          The consequences of the war in           process is that whilst Europe heads
                 2000, many for the second time (hav-     Chechnya have inevitably spilled         towards harmonisation of asylum
                 ing returned after fleeing the first     across borders with implications for     policy there are inconsistencies in
                 wave of conflict in 1994). Significant   the refugee protection regime in Eu-     the way in which Chechen asylum
                 numbers of the displaced found           rope. According to UNHCR statistics,     seekers are currently dealt with in
                 temporary – and often precarious         around 120,000 Russian citizens          the countries where they seek pro-
                 – shelter in the neighbouring prov-      sought asylum in the industrialised      tection. Moreover, despite concerted
                 ince of Ingushetia.1                     countries from 2000-2004. In both        efforts on the part of EU Member Sta-
                                                          2003 and 2004 asylum seekers from        tes to reduce multiple applications
                 210,000 Chechens – more than 20%         the Russian Federation were the          for asylum, the same asylum seeker
                 of the population of Chechnya – re-      largest group of people claiming         from Chechnya can be registered in
                 main displaced within the Russian        asylum in the countries of Europe.       Poland, the Czech Republic and Aus-
                 Federation.2 Chechnya continues to       Although statistical information on      tria. Many of those who have arrived
                 suffer from insecurity and human         asylum seekers from Chechnya is          in Poland over recent years have
                                                                                                   either been refused asylum or have
                                                                                                   become increasingly frustrated about
                                                                                                   the way in which their applications
                                                                                                   have been dealt with and about the
                                                                                                   facilities that are available to them
                                                                                                   during the determination process.

                                                                                                   Unable to return home a group of
                                                                                                   Chechens headed for the Czech
                                                                                                   Republic in 2003 in the hope that
                                                                                                   their applications would have a
                                                                                                   better chance there. All of the
                                                                                                   Chechens who had claimed asylum
                                                                                                   in Poland and who submitted new
                                                                                                   asylum claims with the Czech border
                                                                                                   authorities were allowed to enter the

                                                                                                   Chechen asylum seekers, Vysni Lhoty reception centre
UNHCR/L Taylor

                                                                                                   for new arrivals, in northern Moravia, Czech republic.
                   40 Chechen refugees denied access to Europe                                                                            FMR 23
                           regular Czech RSD system. Ironically
                           those asylum seekers from Chechnya
                           who had entered the country from
                           Poland but had not applied there
                           were rejected by the Czech Ministry
                           of Interior on the manifestly unfair
                           grounds that they could apply for
                           asylum in Poland and would be able
                           to do so if returned to Poland.

                           The approach taken by Austrian
                           asylum authorities towards Chechen
                           asylum seekers followed that of the
                           Czech Republic. Prior to May 2004
                           Austria did not consider the Czech
                           Republic to be a safe third country
                           for return due to a two-year ban on
                           re-submission of a new asylum ap-

                                                                                                                                                        UNHCR/L Taylor
                           plication in the Czech Republic and
                           a legal provision to terminate the
                           RSD process if an asylum seeker left
                           or attempted to leave the country
                           illegally. These provisions still form   Chechnya arrived at the Austrian          to expel the returned Chechens from
                           part of the Czech asylum law. In Oc-     border post and claimed asylum. The       Czech territory. Only because most
      Chechen asylum       tober 2003 Austria ended its policy      Austrian border police officials con-     of the group appealed against the
     seekers in library,   of non-refoulement of asylum seek-       ducted interviews with the asylum         decision were they allowed then to
    Vysni Lhoty recep-     ers to the Czech Republic despite        seekers, filled out the necessary asy-    stay in the Czech Republic. However,
    tion centre for new
   arrivals, in northern
                           the fact that there were no changes      lum claim forms but did not allow         as a result, no country would make
      Moravia, Czech       introduced into the Czech Asylum         the Chechen asylum seekers to enter       an assessment on the merits of
               Republic.   Act. The expectation now is that if      Austrian territory. The asylum seek-      asylum applications lodged by them.
                           asylum seekers from Chechnya enter       ers were told to return to a Czech        Czech NGOs have campaigned to
                           Austria from the Czech Republic          refugee camp to await the result of       find a solution for the Chechens in
                           they can be returned there. And          the Austrian RSD border procedure.        the Czech Republic either on basis of
                           if they entered the Czech Repub-         However, by the end of the year none      a new Temporary Protection Act or
                           lic from Poland without claiming         had heard the results of their asylum     a toleration regime. So far, there has
                           asylum in Poland, they can again be      claims in Austria.                        been no response from the Czech
                           returned.                                                                          government
                                                                    Subsequently, a larger group was
                           A legal limbo                            neither granted entry to Austrian         The need for a ‘protected
                                                                    territory nor allowed to submit their     entry’ solution
                           As a consequence of these processes,     asylum applications. The Austrian
                           many Chechen asylum seekers in           Interior Minister stated that the refu-   The international community is cur-
                           Europe find themselves in a legal        gees from Chechnya had been told          rently failing to protect those fleeing
                           limbo whilst different countries de-     that refugee reception centres were       from human rights violations in
                           cide what to do about their applica-     full and had voluntarily returned to      Chechnya. Neither Ingushetia nor the
                           tions for protection. Many Chechens      the Czech Republic without claiming       rest of the Russian Federation can
                           left Poland because they found           asylum in Austria. In fact, as inter-     be considered as adequate internal
                           themselves without legal protection      views with the Chechens confirmed,        flight alternative destinations.6 Ef-
                           or status. Similarly asylum seekers      all the returned Chechens had             forts to reduce the number of asy-
                           from Chechnya who move from the          claimed asylum in Austria but had         lum seekers in Europe adopted by EU
                           Czech Republic to Austria can find       been served with three-year expul-        states make the access of Chechen
                           themselves in this position. This        sion orders by the Austrian authori-      refugees to effective protection
                           situation can sometimes result from      ties. Some subsequently appealed          extremely difficult and expensive.
                           the deliberate attempts of some          against the expulsion decisions and       We are close to a situation in which
                           countries to absolve themselves of       complained of their inhumane treat-       almost every application for asylum
                           responsibility for determining these     ment. In early 2004 Austria changed       in Europe could be rejected as inad-
                           claims.                                  its policy and again allowed Chech-       missible or manifestly unfounded.
                                                                    ens to apply for asylum.
                           The Czech Aliens Police in the South                                               Part of the problem stems from the
                           Bohemian border town of Ceske            Czech treatment of the returned
                                                                                                              fact that Poland and the Czech Re-
                           Velenice previously facilitated,         Chechens was in line with the provi-
                                                                                                              public are still seen by most asylum
                           rather than deterred, the unautho-       sions of the Czech Asylum Act.
                                                                                                              seekers as only transit countries and
                           rised entry of Chechen refugees to       The RSD procedure of the returned
                                                                                                              the treatment that their applications
                           Austria. The town became known in        Chechens was terminated and they
                                                                                                              receive in these countries often re-
                           the North Caucasus as an easy entry      were told that they had to wait two
                                                                                                              flects this. Both the Czech and Polish
                           point to the EU. In October 2003 a       years to submit a repeat asylum
                                                                                                              asylum laws must be amended to
                           group of eight asylum seekers from       application. The authorities resolved
                                                                                                              come into line with provisions of the
FMR 23                                                                 Chechen refugees denied access to Europe 41
1951 Convention to ensure that asy-         tries and for individual refugees and   suffer in poverty and are forced to

                                                                                                                                          ASYLUM IN EUROPE
lum claims are dealt with in a regular      asylum seekers in need of protec-       use illegal channels to reach the EU.
RSD procedure. The safe third coun-         tion. Since 2004 many of those who
try notion must be implemented on           are genuinely in need of protection     One of the solutions to be explored
an individual basis.                        and who have sought asylum in           is an introduction of the protected
                                            Poland and the Czech Republic have      entry idea in regions of origin involv-
Before any country can be desig-            remained underground and turned         ing Embassies of the EU Member
nated as safe, an assessment of             to the services of smugglers to reach   States.7 The EU should follow the
individual protection needs must be         territories of countries more likely    example of the US, Canada and Aus-
carried out for every single asylum         to recognise their needs and grant      tralia and increase their resettlement
seeker. The fact that a country is an       them refugee status. The Dublin II      quotas as well as rapidly introduce
EU Member State, a signatory to the         Regulation provides the legal basis     pro-active migration management
1951 Convention and other interna-          for establishing the criteria and       schemes. At the same time, discus-
tional human rights conventions, and        mechanism for determining the           sion of improved law enforcement
has an asylum system in place, does         State responsible for examining an      with regard to illegal immigrants and
not necessarily mean that it is a safe      asylum application in one of the        greater focus on labour integration
place of return for all asylum seekers      Member States of the EU. In order to    of immigrants would make the EU
arriving from a particular country.         save their lives Chechen refugees are   more open, fair and competitive to
The fact that asylum seekers from           forced to bypass it.                    its newcomers.
Chechnya are rarely granted asylum
in either of these countries – despite      Recent proposals to establish EU pro-   Martin Rozumek is the Direc-
extensive evidence of on-going              cessing centres in Ukraine or Libya     tor of the Organizace pro pomoc
conflict and persecution in their           can neither reduce protection needs              u
                                                                                    uprchlík˚ m / Organization for Aid
country of origin – is illustrative of      nor diminish the demand in Europe       to Refugees ( in Prague.
this problem. Moreover, the Austrian        for cheap labour. The likely result     Email:
government (as well as the German           of such centres is that more people
                                                                                    1. Further information available at www.migra-
government) could well be in breach         will be forced to live in non-legal
of their non-refoulement obligations        situations, dependent upon criminal     2.
as they have effectively denied entry       networks. The burdens and costs         isko.php
and RSD procedure to individuals            of border control will be further       sia10298.htm
coming from the Czech Republic and          increased.                              4. Tullio Santini ‘North Caucasus: upholding IDPs’
Poland.                                                                             right to ‘voluntary’ return’, FMR 1, www.fmre-
                                            Future asylum systems in Europe         5.
What is also clear, however, is that        must better differentiate between       opendoc.pdf?tbl=STATISTICS&id=422439144&p
the asylum system being created in          the voluntary and forced dimensions
                                                                                    6. Marx, R ‘The Criteria of Applying the ‘Internal
Europe, particularly when combined          of migration. States argue that the     Flight Alternative’ Test in National Refugee Status
with the enlargement of the EU and          concept of asylum is widely abused      Determination Procedures’, International Journal
                                                                                    of Refugee Law, Vol. 14, No. 2/3 (2002), page 179.
the inevitable uneven distribution of       by illegal migrants coming to Europe,   7. Noll, G ‘From ‘protective passports’ to pro-
asylum seekers across EU Member             yet offer almost no legal avenues for   tected entry procedures? The legacy of Raoul
States, has itself generated new            those who are in need of protection.    Wallenberg in the contemporary asylum debate’,
                                                                                    UNHCR, Working Paper No 99, December 2003.
problems both for receiving coun-           People with real protection needs

                 A new asylum paradigm: rhetoric or reality?
  This research project, based at the       recent proposals by the German,         As part of a study commissioned
  Centre on Migration, Policy and           Italian and Dutch governments.          by the UK’s Department for Inter-
  Society (COMPAS) at the University                                                national Development, ‘Developing
  of Oxford and headed by COMPAS            The project traces the evolution        DfID’s policy approach towards
  senior researchers Liza Schuster          of the debate, its policy manifes-      refugees and IDPs’, a wide range of
  and Nicholas Van Hear, explores           tations and, most important, the        documents has been collected on
  whether a ‘new asylum paradigm’           implications for asylum seekers         various aspects of the NAP. Parts of
  (NAP) is emerging around recent           and other migrants.                     the DfID report (online at www.rsc.
  policy initiatives that seek to shift                                    relate directly
                                            Project outputs to date include a
  asylum processing and manage-                                                     to the NAP. Stephen Castles of the
                                            number of papers by doctoral stu-
  ment closer to the regions from                                                   RSC and Nicholas Van Hear have
                                            dent Alexander Betts and a paper
  which asylum seekers come.                                                        taken the lead on this work, with
                                            by Liza Schuster on ‘New asylum
                                                                                    Heaven Crawley of AMRE Consult-
  Although similar ideas have been          paradigms: the rhetoric and the
                                                                                    ing contributing an expert paper.
  around in various forms for some          reality’, exploring the manifesta-
  time, there appears currently to be       tions of the new asylum paradigm        For further information please
  a convergence of thinking, seen in        on the ground in North Africa and       contact liza.schuster@compas.
  related initiatives such as the British   elsewhere. Schuster’s fieldwork in or nicholas.
  government proposal on ‘new’ ap-          Morocco is being undertaken in
  proaches to asylum seekers, debate        conjunction with the Refugee Stud-      Website:
  within the EU on managing asylum,         ies Centre at Oxford, the University
  UNHCR’s Convention Plus and               of Oujda in Morocco and UNHCR.
42                                                                                                                   FMR 23

     Challenges of temporary
     protection in Syria                                                                             by Ann Maymann
     Forced displacement is now a defining characteristic                                in Syria were submitted for resettle-
                                                                                        ment to third countries such as Aus-
     of Iraqi society and will remain so for years to come.                             tralia, Canada, the European Union,
     Many have chosen to leave for neighbouring countries,                              New Zealand or the US. This changed
                                                                                        in March 2003 when UNHCR called
     particularly Syria and Jordan, but remain in a limbo of                            on national states to provide tempo-

     temporary protection.                                                              rary protection to all Iraqis whether
                                                                                        for those already in exile or subse-

             ware of US preparations for       solutions were found in cooperation      quent arrivals. It implied a complete
             an attack on Iraq, the human-     with the Syrian authorities and reset-   ban on forced return of Iraqis includ-
             itarian community was ready       tlement countries.                       ing rejected asylum seekers and in
     to receive thousands of Iraqis ex-                                                 turn also the temporary halt to the
     pected to pour into Syria and Jordan      Iraqi refugees in Syria come from        individual refugee status determina-
     at the end of March 2003. However,        urban backgrounds and seek               tion. Given the political sensitivities,
     instead of arriving as expected en        livelihood opportunities in familiar     the unpredictable developments in
     masse,1 Iraqi refugees have arrived in    networks and settings. Iraqi refugees    Iraq and the varying attitudes of
     dribs and drabs – threatened both by      are mostly employed in the informal      both Western and regional states to-
     bullets and loss of livelihoods – as      sector – often, men in the construc-     wards the plight of Iraqis, advocating
     the situation in Iraq has continued to    tion sector and women in sewing          for temporary protection status with
     deteriorate.                              and tailoring. They pay higher house     all its flaws and incompleteness was
                                               rents than Syrian nationals and there    the only viable option at hand – and
     The number of Iraqis in Syria is          is evidence that their presence has      was indeed effective in preventing
     widely contested. The Syrian authori-     forced up house prices and rents.        enforced returns to Iraq.
     ties estimate the number at around
     400,000, other sources quote one          Iraqi refugees are not a new phe-        Temporary protection status affords
     million and Syrian taxi drivers say       nomenon in Syria but their sheer         less protection compared to that
     two million. Many are financially         numbers are having an impact on          based on UNHCR’s mandate or the
     self-sufficient or have family con-       the lives of Syrians. Some Syrians       1951 Convention – but is better
     nections in Syria and the majority        blame Iraqis for driving down wages,     than no protection at all. Above all,
     have never approached UNHCR.              for petty crime and for prostitution.    it safeguards against refoulement.
     As of February 2005, UNHCR has            Poverty in Iraq and the impact of        In mass influx situations it has also
     registered approximately 15,000           Islamic fundamentalism have un-          been used when it has proved impos-
     Iraqis since the outbreak of the war.     doubtedly forced many prostitutes        sible to undertake individual refugee
     During 2004, an average of 250 Ira-       to flee to Syria.                        status determination. UNHCR first
     qis approached UNHCR every week                                                    employed it in 1992 with the inten-
     for registration and documentation.       Syrian sanctuary?                        tion that it would provide short-term
     Christians constitute some 35% of                                                  minimum protection to those fleeing
     registered Iraqis in Syria, despite the   In addition to the 15,000 registered     conflict in ex-Yugoslavia.
     fact that in Iraq Christians constitute   Iraqi refugees, Syria also hosts some
     only around 5% of the total popula-       2,500 refugees of other origins          In June 2001, the Directive on Tem-
     tion.                                     – plus around half a million Pales-      porary Protection by the European
                                               tinian refugees (410,000 of whom         Union Ministers of Justice and Home
     Iraqi refugees are concentrated in        are registered with UNRWA, the UN        Affairs (JHA) was welcomed by
     urban centres, especially Damascus        Relief and Works Agency for Pal-         UNHCR whereby it was recognised
     and Aleppo. Shia and Sunni Mus-           estine Refugees) who enjoy similar       that “temporary protection is not an
     lims and Assyrian and Chaldean            rights as Syrian citizens. Syria has     alternative to refugee status under
     Christians from Iraq tend to live         no specific laws regulating asylum       the 1951 Convention, but only a
     in areas alongside other members          seekers and refugees. Entry, stay and    practical device aimed at meeting
     – whether Syrian or foreign – of the      exit of asylum seekers and refugees      urgent protection needs during a
     same groups. The fact that they are       are regulated under the ordinary         mass influx situation until the indi-
     drawn to urban centres also explains      immigration legislation pertaining to    viduals concerned have their asylum
     the apparent paradox that, despite        any alien on Syrian territory. Syria,    requests determined on a case-by-
     increasing numbers of Iraqi refugees      like the majority of members of the      case basis”3. Iraqi refugees have now
     entering Syria, in June 2004 UNHCR        Arab League, has not signed the          been under ‘temporary’ protection in
     closed down the refugee camp in           1951 Refugee Convention.2                Syria for more than two years.
     Hassakeh province in northeastern
     Syria. There were only some 50            Prior to the war in Iraq, Iraqis with    Syrian authorities normally exhibit
     refugees left, for whom individual        refugee status determined by UNHCR       warm hospitality towards Arabs,
FMR 23                                                            Challenges of temporary protection in Syria                           43

including Iraqis, Somalis and Su-        of ‘persecution’ has been taken hos-     the causes and consequences of the
danese. UNHCR is encouraging the         tage by political considerations. Just   present conflict in Iraq. The question
Syrian authorities to continue this      as asylum seekers have sometimes         is: which countries will cooperate
tradition and to offer real protec-      been described as ‘asylum shopping’      with the UN and UNHCR to protect
tion for Iraqi refugees. One tangible    in Europe, so resettlement countries     Iraqi civilians from an increasingly
means is through provision of sup-       occasionally go ‘refugee shopping’,      confusing and maniacal armed con-
port to those sectors of society, such   prioritising for example groups such     flict?
as health and education institutions,    as ‘women at risk’ or specific ethnic
having to deal with the impact of        or religious groups. They misunder-      When the time is ripe, one possibil-
the increasing number of refugees.       stand the complex nature of conflict     ity would be to organise a debate at
UNHCR in collaboration with their        in Iraq and the rapid changes in         the regional or international level
operational partners, the Syrian Red     grounds for persecution.                 on the impact of the war in Iraq on
Crescent and the Syrian Women                                                     civilians in order to generate creative
Union, identifies those Iraqi refugees   The challenge of injecting substance     suggestions for the amelioration of
under temporary protection who           into temporary protection is that,       daily life whether in Iraq or in exile.
require specific assistance such as      in this region, refugee status has       Participants should include human
emergency medical response and           hitherto meant resettlement. UNHCR       rights groups, refugee advocates and
support for family reunification.        is striving to change this perception    Iraqi civilians.
                                         and there are indeed positive signs
Syrian hospitality towards mem-          emerging on institutionalising refu-     While not all Iraqi civilians are at
bers of the huge Iraqi community         gee protection through negotiations      risk, many are – and they deserve
is under threat not only from the        with authorities.                        our concerted attention and protec-
pressure imposed on Syrian society                                                tion.
and its resources but also from the      Outlook
US coalition and its crackdown on                                                 Ann Maymann is a Protection
terrorists. In the current extremely     As temporary protection begins to        Officer for UNHCR Syria.
tense atmosphere in which the US         acquire a manifestly non-temporary       Email:
does not rule out the option of mili-    status, questions arise: would the       The thoughts expressed are per-
tary strikes against Damascus the        world have reacted differently if Iraq   sonal and do not necessarily reflect
question remains which criteria are      had been invaded by North Korea or       the views of UNHCR or the UN.
applied for identifying a terrorist.     Iran? Would the exodus to neigh-         UNHCR’s Iraq homepage is at:
                                         bouring countries have been char-
In the initial registration of Iraqis    acterised as a refugee situation and     iraq
under temporary protection in Syria,     would Iraqis have been welcomed
it emerged that some had opted to                                                 1. Dawn Chatty ‘‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ and
                                         for resettlement out of the region?
                                                                                  its phantom million Iraqi refugees’, FMR18, p51,
leave Iraq due to their membership
of the Ba’ath party. Today it is a       If temporary protection is to have       pdf
criminal offence even to be a party      real value, it must form part of a       2. Thirteen Arab League states are non-signato-
member but under Saddam Husse-           comprehensive international strat-       ries. Those that have signed are Algeria, Djibouti,
                                                                                  Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan,
in’s regime many joined to ensure        egy, designed to deal with both the
                                                                                  Tunisia and Yemen
their economic survival. There are       causes and the consequences of a         3. ‘UNHCR welcomes EU agreement on temporary
concerns that Ba’ath associations        refugee-producing conflict. UNHCR        protection’, 1 June 2001
may exclude them from refugee            and the UN as a whole are obviously
status. It looks now as if the concept   in no position to effectively address

                                         Displacements is a multidisciplinary project focusing on the
                                         experiences of refugees living in various situations –
                                         Johannesburg in South Africa, Massy in France and Kakuma
                                                        refugee camp in Kenya. Through a series of
                                                        creative workshops, collaborations and ex-
                                                        hibitions shown both within and outside the
                                                        communities in which they were created,
                                                        the project – directed by Marie Ange Bordas
                                                        ( – aims to raise
                                                        awareness about their plight through their
                                                        own ideas and voices.

44                                                                                                                        FMR 23

     IDPs in the new Georgia
                                                                                                              by Freya von Groote
     Secession of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions of                               previously living in private accom-
                                                                                          modation have moved to collective
     Georgia in the early 1990s displaced over a quarter of                               centres as a result of decreasing

     a million Georgians, many of whom remain in collective                               willingness of local families to host
                                                                                          them and their inability to pay rents
     shelters. As Georgia embraces democracy, what can be                                 as they sink further into poverty.
                                                                                          Georgia’s privatisation programme is
     done to resolve the country’s protracted IDP crisis?                                 leading to the removal of IDPs from

             bkhazia, a small strip of land    and conflict transformation and to         public buildings occupying prime
             in northwestern Georgia           empower IDPs to actively advocate          real-estate sites. Until recently the
             that hugs the Black Sea, has      for their rights.                          Iveria Hotel in Tbilisi’s main square
     traditionally been inhabited by a mix                                                housed thousands of IDPs and was
     of nationalities. By the time the USSR    The viability of Georgia’s democratic      an iconic daily reminder to Geor-
     broke up, the Abkhaz population           experiment hinges on universal             gians and the world of the unre-
     of Abkhazia was estimated at 18%,         civic participation and therefore,         solved conflict. Compensation for
     while Georgians comprised 45%, Rus-       ultimately, on IDP integration. As         those forced to lose their shelter has
     sians 15%, Armenians 15% and the          in other displacement contexts, the        been ad hoc.
     remainder a combination of Ukrai-         issue of integration is contentious as
     nians, Belorussians, Jews, Greeks,        it is associated with the possibility of   Return of IDPs to Abkhazia has been
     Azeris and Tatars. Georgia claims         compromising the principle of right        promoted as the only acceptable
     that the Abkhaz leadership engaged        to return. In the case of Georgia,         solution by the Georgian authori-
     in genocide and ethnic cleansing of       however, it appears that social,           ties and by IDPs themselves. This
     the Georgian population during the        economic and political integration         position resulted in the creation
     1992-1993 war.                            may empower IDPs to participate in         of special rules for IDPs which in
                                               shaping policies that may eventually       many ways have denied them rights
     Since 1992 the UN has passed              enable them to assert such a right.        granted to other citizens and forced
     several resolutions on Abkhazia                                                      them to live under conditions of
     which remain unobserved. Russia,          The Abkhaz government in exile,            legal discrimination. It was only in
     a key supporter of the Abkhaz de          which is supposed to represent the         2002 that the reform of the elec-
     facto authorities, has entrenched the     interests of internally displaced          tion code restored the right of IDPs
     political and military stand-off be-      Georgians, is due to move its              to vote in local and parliamentary
     tween the two sides. Georgia’s buffer     headquarters closer to Abkhazia,           elections. Distribution of entitle-
     position between NATO and Russia          transferring from the Georgian
     shapes Russia’s and the USA’s keen        capital, Tbilisi, to Zugdidi in west-
     interest in the conflict. The Abkhaz      ern Georgia. It remains to be seen
     authorities have maintained de facto      whether the government in exile
     independence, determined to pre-          can overcome the legacy of alleged
     serve Russian support and generally       corruption during the Shevardnadze
     refused to negotiate with the Geor-       era and truly advocate for IDP rights.
     gian government. The Abkhaz side          The fact that its leaders are not
     accuses the UN Observer Mission of        elected but appointed by the Geor-
     political bias.                           gian President weakens its claim to
                                               legitimacy. The Abkhaz authorities
     Obstacles and opportunities               refuse to recognise it as a negotia-
                                               tion partner.
     In November 2003 Georgia’s ‘Rose
     Revolution’, a peaceful protest at        Georgia continues to be over-
     fraudulent elections, led to the          whelmed by the economic conse-
     replacement of the veteran leader         quences of the break-up of the for-
     Eduard Shevardnadze by the pro-           mer Soviet Union, the legacy of civil
     Western Mikhail Saakashvili. Democ-       strife, mass displacement and anger
     ratisation and economic reform have       at loss of sovereignty. Approximately
     ushered in changes in the role and        40% of the displaced population live
     functions of civil society and IDPs.      in collective centres, often located in
     Policies which promote top-down,          former hotels, schools, factories and
     state-led integration have not only       hospitals. According to UN OCHA,
     changed the position of IDPs within       70% of the collective centres in
     society but also altered, if not decon-   Georgia do not meet minimum living
     structed, the significance attributed     standards. Unemployment, alcohol-
     to displaced populations. The transi-     ism, high depression and suicide
                                                                                           UNHCR/A Hollmann

     tion offers opportunities to review       rates and bad health are common-
     Georgia’s strategy of state-building      place. An increasing number of IDPs
FMR 23                                                                                    IDPs in the new Georgia 45
ments – including to free electricity    Future prospects                          Georgian IDPs have returned home
and public transport – has been a                                                  spontaneously, mainly to the eastern
lucrative source of income for cor-      Despite the political logjam, there       Abkhaz district of Gali, if only on a
rupt bureaucrats.                        are some grounds for optimism. The        seasonal basis.
                                         new political reality holds significant
Many argue that IDPs have been           potential for the emancipation of         The government is trying to break
kept in the dark about their rights      the IDP community in the medium           the dependency mentality of IDPs
and entitlements by those who            to long term. Integration of the IDP      and now actively encourages donors
have benefited from administering        community into society at large           to shift their attention from humani-
assistance programmes. They have         could provide IDPs with a window          tarian assistance towards develop-
helped create a dependency mental-       of opportunity to realise their rights    ment. The psychological shock of the
ity among IDPs which has reinforced      as citizens, as well as to eventually     new policies is significant yet there
their social (self-) segregation and     actively participate in the peace         is already evidence of attitudinal
communal introversion. During the        process as members of a democratic        change. Some IDPs no longer hark
years of displacement IDPs have          society.                                  back to memories of “how we lived”
increasingly adopted a defiant, yet                                                but have started talking of “how we
passive, victim identity but without     Having realised that a resolution         will live again”.
developing forms of group solidarity     of the conflict is not imminent, the
or effective collective association.     Saakashvili government has recog-         Actions need to be taken to maintain
As other Georgians have also seen        nised the need for domestic social        momentum and channel expecta-
their living standards falling, they     consolidation as a foundation stone       tions responsibly:
have come to regard the displaced        to enable democratic dialogue and
with increasing irritation and fading    peacemaking. Grass roots and civil        ■ IDPs must be given greatly im-
sympathy.                                society organisations are gaining           proved access to information.
                                         confidence and developing greater
Georgia’s new government is under-                                                 ■ IDPs must be socially better
                                         influence over events. The govern-
taking a census of the IDP popula-                                                   integrated and their capacities to
                                         ment is aware of the need to win
tion with assistance from UNHCR. It                                                  participate increased.
                                         over the increasingly embittered and
is unclear whether this is a genuine
                                         fearful Abkhaz minority and to offer
planning tool, or driven by anti-cor-                                              ■ IDPs must be more involved in
                                         incentives to make return to Georgia
ruption fervour, a need to rationalise                                               the political process.
                                         preferable to continued reliance
budgets by weeding out non-existent
                                         on Russia. IDP leaders now simply
and fraudulent beneficiaries or the                                                ■ Economic policies must be
                                         express a desire to return and do
desire to reduce IDP numbers and                                                     shaped with reference to the need
                                         not talk of revenge. In recent years,
make the right to return less politi-                                                to protect IDP rights, particularly
                                         with the improvement of a return
cally contentious.                                                                   related to housing.
                                         environment supported by the inter-
                                         national community, small groups of
                                                                                   What we are seeing in Georgia can be
                                                                                                                             IDPs from
                                                                                   seen as the ‘secularisation’ of the IDP
                                                                                                                             Abkhazia living in
                                                                                   and a new social pragmatism rooted
                                                                                                                             what used to be the
                                                                                   in a firm neo-liberal economic frame-     Hotel Iveria, turned
                                                                                   work. The extent to which raised ex-      into a communal
                                                                                   pectations can be reconciled with the     centre, Tblisi,
                                                                                   recognition that no return will occur     Georgia.
                                                                                   in the short term and the willingness
                                                                                   of IDPs themselves to adapt to new
                                                                                   realities cannot be foreseen. Recent
                                                                                   developments have implications for
                                                                                   policies in other states suffering
                                                                                   from crises of internal displacement.
                                                                                   The continued support of the inter-
                                                                                   national community is pivotal.

                                                                                   Freya von Groote worked as a Proj-
                                                                                   ect Coordinator for the Internation-
                                                                                   al Organization for Migration and
                                                                                   now works as a Coordinator for the
                                                                                   Danish Refugee Council. Contact

                                                                                   For further information, see the
                                                                                   Global IDP Project’s Georgia page:
 46                                                                                                                      FMR 23

      Challenging camp design
      guidelines                                                                                            by Jim Kennedy
      Current guidelines for camps for displaced people need                               design and calculate from the small-
                                                                                           est components to the largest, and
      to be adapted to cater realistically for camp lifespan and                           from the bottom up.
      population growth.                                                                   Setting aside reservations about the

             aced with the challenges of          The UNHCR guidelines stipulate an        guidelines’ universal applicability,
             siting and designing a refugee       area of 900,000m² for a camp for         and assuming that the 4.5m² per
             camp, most professionals turn        20,000 people. This provides a rec-      person interior shelter space stipu-
      to UNHCR’s Handbook for Emergen-            ommended 45m² per person which           lated in the UNHCR Handbook (3.5m²
      cies1 and/or Sphere’s Humanitarian          includes a plot for vegetable garden-    according to Sphere’s more austere
      Charter and Minimum Standards in            ing. However, once the space stipu-      standards) is adequate, then the nec-
      Disaster Response2. These one-size-         lated as necessary for fire-breaks,      essary shelter space for a family of
      fits-all manuals set out everything         non-residential buildings and buffer     five would be 22.5m² – but in reality
      from the minimum area of shelter            zones between shelters is taken into     this should be 31.5m² if the fam-
      space needed per person to the              account, the 45m² quickly starts         ily is to be able to expand to seven
      width of the firebreaks required            to disappear. Neither Sphere nor         members over time. If these families
      within the camp.                            UNHCR give any numeric guidelines        are grouped in communities of 80
                                                  for how much area should be taken        people (again, following UNHCR
      Armed with these guidelines, a camp         up by all the non-residential build-     guidelines), then only 11 families
      planner can negotiate for land and          ings – schools, clinics, warehouses,     should occupy each community
      design a layout for a given number          administration offices and commu-        block rather than the suggested 16.
      of inhabitants. However, it is often        nity centres. (The UNHCR handbook
      the case that within a year or two the      provides a general guideline but no      The next concern is to add enough
      camp is already overcrowded, deny-          actual square metreage.)                 space for all the extra outdoor
      ing both dignity to its inhabitants                                                  facilities which the guidelines fail to
      and space to pursue livelihoods. This       If a camp of 20,000 refugees grows       assign space to – latrines, show-
      is not usually the result of unexpect-      by 4% a year then it would take nine     ers, outdoor cooking areas, a water
      ed additional influxes of displaced         years (just two years more than the      source and waste disposal. The area
      people but a consequence of flaws           average lifespan of all camps) for the   for each community block might now
      within the guidelines themselves.           theoretical average family to grow       be 2,839m² – already some 400m²
                                                                 from five members to      more than for the community for 16
                                                                 seven members and         families under the original UNHCR
planners must take a long-term perspective                       the total population      guidelines.
                                                                 to grow to 29,605. If
      The reality is that the average             in year one the average land area        Once the space for the pathways
      lifespan of a refugee camp is close         per person in the camp follows the       and firebreaks is added in, and a
      to seven years, with some camps for         UNHCR guideline of 45m², by the          non-residential block added for each
      Palestinian refugees still on their         end of the ninth year this area of       eight residential blocks, the final
      original sites after more than 50           land per person will have been re-       area per person on a camp-wide
      years. As the lifespan of a camp can        duced below the minimum to 32m².         basis would be 61m² at the end of
      never be accurately predicted plan-         The area within a family shelter per     the ninth year. This would necessi-
      ners must take a long-term perspec-         person will have been reduced from       tate an initial calculation for the first
      tive. While both sets of guidelines         the UNHCR minimum of 4.5m² to            year, before any internal popula-
      suggest an annual population growth         3.2m². If just one square metre of       tion expansion, of 89m² per person
      rate in refugee camps of 3-4% they          that space is taken up by tools or       – almost double the UNHCR recom-
      fail to act on the consequences.            materials storage for a home-based       mendation and three times that of
                                                  enterprise, then the area for shelter    Sphere. Even this, however, does not
      UNHCR’s manual recommends the               is reduced almost to the point where     take into account the need for space
      promotion of economic enterprises           the refugee or IDP lacks even suf-       for home-based enterprises, nor the
      for camp residents – but does not as-       ficient space to lie down and sleep.     fact that up to 40% of land offered
      sign space for the workshops, home-                                                  for camp construction is sometimes
      based enterprises, granaries or tool                                                 unsuitable for construction, due to
                                                  Design from the bottom up
      storage which these require. In order                                                steep gradient, high water table or
      to create a camp which provides             Caught between the lack of internal      other physical features.
      shelter with dignity to all its residents   consistency in the numerical guide-
      and which will continue after many          lines and the pressures of population    Hierarchy of spaces
      years to comply with the minimum            expansion, the camp planner needs a
      standards set out in the guidelines,        different approach. The key – stated     In most camps, buildings and spaces
      the numeric formulae they use need          early on in UNHCR’s guidelines but       come in only two sizes: a single
      considerable adaptation.                    practically ignored thereafter – is to   family plot/shelter and much larger
                   FMR 23                                                                      Challenging camp design guidelines 47
                   non-residential buildings usually        spaces will be absolutely private, and   The challenge is to convince the
                   grouped together close to the front      some of them absolutely public, and      humanitarian community and host
                   entrance of the camp. This rigid divi-   many will contain a combination of       government authorities that an extra
                   sion by building function often cre-     the two. Although some of the spac-      100-150% land is necessary and that
                   ates tension. Those who live towards     es will indeed continue to be defined    this would not be used for initial
                   the edge of the camp feel excluded       by the buildings that they contain,      building but for low-intensity use,
                   and social instability may be greater.   there will be many other spaces          perhaps for several years. However,
                   Those who live at the edges of resi-     which will be empty at the outset in     only by adopting this approach can
                   dential communities facing directly      order to be filled subsequently by       a camp truly embody the philoso-
                   onto the open spaces in which the        the refugees and their own needs for     phy, and not just the numbers, of
                   non-residential buildings are located    livelihoods and social interaction.      UNHCR’s durable solutions and
                   may have no transitional space be-                                                Sphere’s shelter with dignity.
                   tween the supposedly private spaces      There should not be extreme adja-
                   of their homes and the public spaces     cent contrasts of private and public,    Jim Kennedy is currently working
                   surrounding the clinics, schools or      or large and small, and there should     as a shelter consultant in Sri Lanka,
                   administrative offices. While they       always be some intermediary space        and is conducting doctoral research
                   may derive some benefit from being       between the two. With some sort of       at Delft University in the field of
                   able to place goods stalls or other      transitional space or spaces between     refugee camp design.
                   businesses close to these busy areas,    the larger non-residential buildings     Email:
                   they also suffer considerable loss of    and the closest residential com-
                                                                                                     1. UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies, Geneva
                   privacy and security.                    munities, there will be more privacy
                                                            and greater security for adjoining       handbook.html
                   Rather than planning a camp by           residential areas. Outlying communi-
                                                                                                     2. Sphere Project Humanitarian Charter and
                   placing a series of physical struc-      ties will include smaller, neighbour-    Minimum Standards in Disaster Response, Geneva
                   tures onto an empty plane, the plan-     hood public spaces. Residents will       2004.
                   ner should start to think of the camp    have a greater say in their uses and
                   as a hierarchy of different interlock-   form and therefore a greater com-
                   ing spaces which the built structures    mitment to them – and to the camp        Kibumba camp for Rwandan refugees, Goma region,
                   in part help to form. Some of these      as a whole.                              North Kivu, Zaire (1994).
UNHCR/A Hollmann
48                                                                                                                  FMR 23

     ‘Restriction of access’ is
     displacement: a broader
     concept and policy                                                                        by Michael M Cernea

     Recent changes in the World Bank’s policy on resettle-                            deprived populations compensa-
                                                                                       tion and entitlements to alternative
     ment have dramatic implications for those displaced by                            land, impoverishing them further.
     conservation projects, for governments, NGOs and                                  Social scientists have long provided
                                                                                       evidence that ‘restricting access’ to
     researchers.                                                                      resources vital for livelihood is equal

                                                                                       to imposed economic displacement.
             he conceptual apparatus in       The first debate opposed a narrow
                                                                                       This debate, as opposed to the first,
             forced migration and popula-     definition of forced displacement as
                                                                                       has continued to simmer inconclu-
             tion resettlement research is    physical removal against the broader
     being continuously enriched. One im-     definition mentioned above. The
     portant – but still relatively unknown   supporters of the narrow definition      The most common way of securing
     – development was introduced             contended that displacement occurs       ‘right of way’ is outright land ex-
     recently into the resettlement           only when people lose their homes,       propriation, with some – often with
     policies of the World Bank, African      their ‘place’. Loss of land through      no – compensation. Restrictions of
     Development Bank and Asian               imposed expropriation, their argu-       access are typically instituted against
     Development Bank. This new think-        ment went, would ‘affect’ people         the customary practices of the lo-
     ing is set out in the revised (January   but will not displace them. There-       cal communities and are necessary
     2002) World Bank Operational Policy      fore they may be eligible for land       for conserving unique bio-diversity
     (OP) 4.12 on resettlement.1 This         compensation but not entitled to re-     resources. In certain conditions,
     significantly defines the ‘restricting   settlement protection and rehabilita-    such restrictions are indispensable,
     of access’ to indigenous and other       tion support. Obviously, this narrow     and reasonable restrictions are not,
     people in parks and protected areas      viewpoint belittles the core economic    in themselves, the issue. What is
     as ‘involuntary displacement’ even       content of displacement. This nar-       at issue is the failure to recognise,
     when physical displacement and           row definition lost the debate; today    preempt and counteract the nega-
     relocation are not required. The jus-    it is discredited.                       tive livelihood-related consequences
     tifying rationale is that restrictions                                            of such restrictions. There is ample
     impose impoverishment risks and          In the second debate, the issue at       evidence that their socio-economic
     these risks lead to severe depriva-      stake was more complex. It referred      effects end up being virtually the
     tions.                                   primarily to populations with cus-       same as if they were physically
                                              tomary land ownership, not formal        forcibly displaced. Not being given
     Significantly, this new definition has   legal title. When development proj-      alternatives, such groups soon revert
     come from major international agen-      ects request ‘right of way’ or when      to surreptitious, but now illegal, use
     cies themselves involved in institut-    ‘protected areas’ are established, the   of the restricted areas, undermin-
     ing ‘restricted access’ regimes. As      populations with customary owner-        ing conservation objectives. Instead
     the definition has been adopted, the     ship (including indigenous groups)       of a ‘win-win’, a ‘lose-lose’ situation
     world’s major development agencies       are either relocated forcibly, or are    emerges.
     have moved towards policy consen-        prohibited by ‘restricted access’ from
     sus that restricted access is a form     using lands and resources declared       The revision included in OP4.12
     of displacement.                         as ‘project protected areas’ or ‘proj-   reflects theoretical developments
                                              ect security zones’. They also remain    in the sociology of displacement as
     Rethinking ‘displacement’                under the constant threat of being       it extends coverage from only “the
                                              physically relocated. The impover-       involuntary taking of land” to also
     Forced population displacement           ished condition in which these popu-     “the involuntary restriction of ac-
     caused by development or environ-        lations are left has been brought into   cess to legally designated parks and
     ment projects has usually been           the limelight.                           protected areas resulting in adverse
     defined as those situations when                                                  impacts on the livelihoods of the dis-
     people lose, through imposed             On the ground that no physical           placed persons”. The policy defines
     expropriation, either their house, or    removal occurs, the promoters of         involuntary restriction of access as
     the land they own, or both. They are     project-protected areas deny that        “restriction on the use of resources
     compelled to yield the ‘right of way’    the displacement concept applies to      imposed on people living outside a
     to the project. Within this broadly      populations subjected to ‘restricted     park or protected area, or on those
     accepted definition there have been      access’. This denial is self-serving     who continue living inside the park,
     two definitional debates – with major    as it usually justifies the promot-      or protected area, during and after
     implications for people’s livelihoods.   ing agencies’ refusal to grant those     implementation.”
FMR 23                                    ‘Restriction of access’ is displacement: a broader concept and policy 49
Never before in the 25 years of its          sources or means of livelihood as         now in progress, identifying and
resettlement policy has the World            a result of projects, whether or not      analysing a large number of projects
Bank defined ‘loss of access’ as a           the affected persons are required         – over 100 – containing restricted
form of displacement. This welcome           to move.”3 The Asian Develop-             access provisions.
development is, however, consistent          ment Bank has similarly extended
with the theoretical principle advo-         its policy to address “social and         Further research is now needed to
cated by scholars long ago – that the        economic impact that are permanent        chart whether, and how, the new pol-
definitional characteristic in forced        or temporary and are caused by …          icy guarantees are being implement-
displacement is not necessarily the          restrictions imposed on land as a         ed. The accountability of develop-
physical removal but the imposed             result of an ADB operation.”4             ment and conservation programmes
loss of assets and income. Imposed                                                     for their intended and unintended
deprivation of assets may take place         Implementation                            consequences, the assurance of
in situ, without physical removal of                                                   double sustainability in governance
inhabitants. Therefore, the policy           Implementation outcomes will de-          programmes over natural resources,
now covers the “loss of income               pend on monitoring by civil society       the risks of impoverishment and the
sources or means of livelihood,              and the actions of development            counter-risk measures are research
whether or not the affected persons          agencies, governments and NGOs            priorities.
must move to another location”.              (such as the IUCN, the WorldWide
                                                                                       Michael M Cernea worked as the
                                             Fund for Nature or Conservation
Social scientists have demonstrated                                                    World Bank’s Senior Adviser for So-
                                             International) involved in park
that displacement and loss of ac-                                                      ciology and Social Policy until 1997
cess to common natural resources                                                       and currently is Research Professor
are closely associated with social                                                     at George Washington University.
                                             The World Bank has committed itself
disarticulation, landlessness, loss                                                    Email:
                                             to a sequence of ‘required mea-
of identity, increased morbidity and         sures’ tailored to the needs of the       1. Available at:
mortality and marginalisation.2 All          affected populations. Under the new       Institutional/Manuals/OpManual.nsf/0/CA2D01A
these raise issues of social justice         policy, governments receiving Bank        2. Michael M Cernea and Kai Schmidt-Soltau ‘The
and equity in development and                financing are required to prepare a       End of Forcible Displacement? Conservation Must
conservation strategies. In practice,                                                  NOT Impoverish People’, Policy Matters, 12, 2003.
                                             ‘process framework’ for all proj-
the accepted standards of forced             ects involving restriction of access,     These themes are also explored in FMR12: www.
resettlement are largely not applied         explicitly not only for biodiversity
also because those affected are too          sustainability but also for sustain-      3. AfDB’s policy is at:
weak politically to alone fight for          able livelihoods. Project sponsors are    operations/policies_procedures/policies/involun-
their entitlements. Alternative lands        expected to implement “measures           tary_resettlement_policy_english_ver
                                                                                       4. ADB’s policy is set out at: www.asiandevbank.
are generally not offered, compensa-         to assist affected persons in their       org/Resettlement/default.asp
tion is rarely paid and other effec-         efforts to improve their livelihoods
tive mitigatory measures are absent.         or restore them, in real terms, to pre-
The critique of such approaches is           displacement levels, while maintain-        FMR Editorial Advisory Board
consistent with the broader criticism        ing the sustainability of the park or       Although the EAB members’ institutional
of the economic harm and moral in-           protected areas”. The sweep of this         affiliations are listed below, they serve in
                                                                                         an individual capacity and do not neces-
justice of unmitigated development-          statement is particularly important             sarily represent their institutions.
induced displacements. Indicative of         as it established the requirement
the trend towards greater recogni-           of ‘double sustainability’, both of                     Paula Banerjee
                                                                                                 Calcutta Research Group
tion of poverty impacts of protected         the environment and of people’s
areas is the fact that the 2003 World        incomes and livelihoods.                                Stephen Castles
Parks Congress – convened by the                                                                  Refugee Studies Centre
IUCN World Conservation Union                The militancy of the affected people                     Mark Cutts
– adopted the recommendation that            themselves and the work of many                   OCHA Inter-Agency Internal
areas earmarked for biodiversity             resettlement and conservation                       Displacement Division
conservation should under no cir-            researchers have impelled the new                      Jens Eschenbacher
cumstance exacerbate poverty.                definition and policy on restricting                    Global IDP Project
                                             access. They have provided the em-                        Kemlin Furley
The response from the international          pirical evidence demonstrating the                          UNHCR
development community to the                 risks and sheer disasters inflicted
                                                                                                     Jeremy Stickings
definition of restriction of access          on vulnerable populations by such                            DFID
as displacement has been rapid and           forced displacement. Some of this re-
supportive. In Africa, the region                                                                      Erin Mooney
                                             search in fact concluded that forced
                                                                                                Brookings-Bern Project on
where untold abuses have marred              displacements should be ruled out                    Internal Displacement
the creation of many protected               as a park creation strategy unless
areas, the African Development Bank                                                                   Nick Roseveare
                                             the ‘entitlement matrix’ (ie the full
                                                                                                         Oxfam GB
has included in its 2003 policy on           complement of titled land, fair com-
resettlement the statement (absent           pensation, productive alternatives                        Dan Seymour
previously) that the policy covers                                                                       UNICEF
                                             and rights protection) is provided.
“loss of assets or involuntary restric-      To analyse its own experiences in                     Kine Brodtkorb
tion of access to assets including           more depth, the World Bank itself                 Norwegian Refugee Council
national parks, protected areas or           initiated a project portfolio review,                   Richard Williams
national resources; or loss of income                                                                     ECRE
50                                                                                                                    FMR 23

     Internal displacement in
     Nigeria: an urgent challenge
                                                                                                by Claudia McGoldrick
     In the past five years an estimated 800,000 people have                               are often adequately addressed by
                                                                                          local authorities, UN agencies, Red
     been displaced in Africa’s most populous state. Address-                             Cross/Crescent and NGOs, the lon-

     ing Nigeria’s neglected IDP crisis must be a key priority                            ger-term needs of IDPs are routinely
     in the run-up to the country’s 2007 presidential elections.
                                                                                          During the 2004 Plateau crisis

                ith a population of over 130    ing, whilst the farmers counter that      most of those who fled the violence
                million and more than 250       cattle encroach on their land. In ad-     became hidden in host communi-
                ethnic groups, Nigeria has      dition, there are indigenous Muslim       ties. The most visible IDPs were the
     a multitude of religious, ethnic and       ethnic groups fiercely opposed to         60,000 or so who took refuge in
     political fault lines that periodically    the perceived expansionist tenden-        camps in neighbouring Bauchi and
     lead to communal violence. At least        cies of the Hausa-Fulanis.                Nassarawa states. Early assessments
     10,000 have died since military rule                                                 by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
     ended in 1999. The past year has           Between February and May 2004 a
                                                                                          revealed that the IDPs in camps were
     witnessed an alarming upsurge in           vicious cycle of revenge attacks in
                                                                                          in difficult circumstances and many
     the level of violence in the central       Plateau state left more than 1,000
                                                                                          of their basic longer-term needs
     Nigerian Plateau state and the oil-        people dead. Some sources put the
                                                                                          were unaddressed – including a clear
     producing Niger Delta region.              number of people displaced in the
                                                                                          need for trauma counselling. Many
                                                state at over a quarter of a mil-
                                                                                          people had seen family members
                                                lion but statistics are notoriously
     In the decades which followed                                                        badly mutilated and killed, or had
                                                unreliable and are much disputed.
     the attempted secession of Biafra,                                                   themselves been seriously wounded.
                                                In the small town of Yelwa, where
     Nigeria’s military rulers forcibly kept                                              Hundreds of women and girls had
                                                a series of clashes culminated in
     the lid on religious, ethnic and politi-                                             been abducted and many had been
                                                the massacre of at least 600 Mus-
     cal tensions. However, the election                                                  raped and used as slave labour. IDPs,
                                                lims (according to the Nigerian Red
     of President Olusegun Obasanjo in                                                    including large numbers of children,
                                                Cross) by heavily armed Christian
     1999 allowed Nigerians greater free-                                                 show clear signs of post-traumatic
                                                militia, an estimated 80% of houses
     dom to vent pent-up grievances and                                                   stress disorder.
                                                were destroyed. Mass graves
     new areas of conflict were created by
     competition for political spoils. Com-
                                                attest to heavy losses on both
                                                sides. While both Muslim and
                                                                                  government assistance is spasmodic and
     munal violence was fuelled by ethnic
     and religious violence (exacerbated
                                                Christian groups in the Yelwa     UN support for IDPs has been ad hoc
                                                area have made inflammatory
     by the introduction of Islamic sharia                                                Almost a year after the Yelwa
                                                accusations, the conflict is not sim-
     law in a third of Nigeria’s 36 states),                                              violence reached its peak, several
                                                ply driven by religious rivalry. Some
     land disputes and competition for oil                                                thousand IDPs remain in camps.
                                                Plateau residents remain convinced
     resources.                                                                           Some IDPs have integrated into local
                                                that the state government deliberate-
                                                                                          communities, joined relatives in
                                                ly initiated the violence in order to
     Perhaps the most significant cause                                                   other states or are being officially
                                                rid the area of Muslim settlers while
     of communal violence in Nigeria is                                                   resettled. Although thousands have
                                                others believe the state governor has
     the entrenched division throughout                                                   returned to Plateau to try to pick
                                                been made a scapegoat.
     the country between people consid-                                                   up the pieces among the rubble and
     ered indigenous to an area and those       Conflict in Nigeria is driven by          charred remains of their homes, few
     regarded as settlers. Settlers may         poverty and unequal access to             have the means to start rebuilding.
     have lived in an area for centuries        resources. Despite its oil wealth, at     Lack of shelter is a major obstacle to
     but are, nevertheless, discriminated       least two-thirds of Nigerians live        return. Once again, in the aftermath
     against and denied equal access            on less than $1 a day. Many people        of displacement crises, government
     to land, commercial opportunities,         believe that conflicts are created and    assistance is spasmodic and UN sup-
     employment and education.                  fanned by scheming politicians, par-      port for IDPs has been ad hoc.
                                                ticularly elites of the former military
     In the predominantly Christian Pla-        regime, who rely on the huge pools        At the level of the federal govern-
     teau state, the majority of ‘settlers’     of destitute and frustrated youths to     ment the humanitarian response is
     belong to the northern Hausa-Fulani        create social division. When violence     constrained by lack of experience
     ethnic group, nomads who have              erupts, it quickly spreads and takes      in dealing with IDP issues and by
     moved southwards as the expand-            on a momentum of its own.                 competing mandates. Due to com-
     ing Sahara desert has dried up their                                                 petition for resources between the
     traditional grazing lands. Hausa-Fu-       Neglected long-term needs                 National Emergency Management
     lani Muslims have long complained                                                    Agency (NEMA) and the National
     that Christian farmers steal their         While immediate humanitarian needs        Commission for Refugees (NCR) it is
     cattle and prevent them from graz-         in the wake of communal violence          unclear who has prime responsibility
                     FMR 23                                                 Internal displacement in Nigeria: an urgent challenge                51

                     for assisting IDPS. In the wake of the   ‘emergency’ – especially when             conflict has died down, humanitarian
                     2004 Plateau state crisis, interna-      compared to other conflict-induced        assistance dries up. The situation of
                     tional donors criticised the Nigerian    displacement crises in West Africa        IDPs trying to rebuild their homes
                     authorities for lack of coordination,    – there is real potential for renewed     and livelihoods in the devastated
                     absence of a proper IDP registration     violence and major population             town of Yelwa is just one example of
                     system, inefficient use of resources,    movements. A six-month state of           the sad lack of sustained post-emer-
                     poor planning, inadequate monitor-       emergency in Plateau state imposed        gency humanitarian assistance. MSF
                     ing and evaluation and the politicisa-   by President Obasanjo was lifted in       is the only NGO working there but
                     tion of humanitarian assistance.         November 2004 but many fear a fur-        it clearly has limited capacity and
                                                              ther outbreak of violence
                     Although the Nigerian government         will again spread to other
                     has requested international assis-       areas of the country.        there is real potential for renewed violence
                     tance, very little has been forthcom-
                     ing as most donors feel Nigeria has      The fragmented response
                                                                                           and major population movements
                     the financial resources to tackle        to the 2004 crisis has
                     problems on its own. Neither the UN      demonstrated the need for improved        resources to deal with the full range
                     nor international donors regarded        coordination between humanitar-           of humanitarian needs. UNICEF is
                     the displacement of a quarter of a       ian actors at all stages of internal      also constrained by lack of funding.
                     million people in Plateau State as a     displacement from contingency plan-       Sustained, coordinated support is es-
                     real humanitarian crisis. An assess-     ning and preparedness right through       sential to allow IDPs to return home
                     ment mission led by the European         to post-emergency rehabilitation          in ‘safety and dignity’ as required by
                     Commission’s Humanitarian Office         activities. Although the Nigerian         the UN Guiding Principles on Internal
                     in July 2004 concluded that the crisis   government may have the financial         Displacement.
                     was too small in terms of duration,      capacity to respond to emergencies,
                     numbers of affected populations and      it lacks the necessary institutional      Claudia McGoldrick is an African
                     mortality rates to warrant provision     capacity and expertise to deal ef-        country analyst at the Global IDP
                     of emergency funding to the Nige-        fectively with acute situations of        Project, Geneva. Email: claudia.
                     rian government. There is a widely       internal displacement.          
                     held view that the government
                     should focus its efforts on address-     Donors must invest both in improv-        This article is extracted from a
                     ing the root causes of the problem       ing the emergency response and            report available at: www.idpproject.
                     – including the equitable distribution   facilitating IDP return and reintegra-    org/countries/nigeria/reports/Nige-
                     of resources – rather than simply ad-    tion. This should include not only        ria_Indepth_report_Feb05.pdf
                     dressing the symptoms.                   physical rehabilitation of homes,
                                                              public buildings and infrastructure
                     What needs to be done?                   but also support for peace and
                                                              reconciliation initiatives, especially
                     Although internal displacement in        at the grass-roots level. All too often
                     Nigeria may not amount to an             in Nigeria, once an outbreak of           Billboard in Plateau state.
Claudia McGoldrick
52                                                                                                                        FMR 23

     Recommendations for urban
     refugee policy                                                         by Karen Jacobsen and Loren Landau

             NHCR is currently revising the    tion and recertification. Many urban    avoid parallel structures such as
             Policy on Refugees in Urban       refugees have professional qualifi-     special refugee credit organisations,
             Areas which it introduced in      cations that are not recognised by      schools or clinics.
     1997. While this policy represented a     national authorities or professional
     step towards protecting the rights of     associations in asylum countries. For   Those not able to capitalise on cities’
     urban refugees, it has been difficult     example, while South Africa faces an    opportunities include unaccompa-
     to implement for technical, logistical    acute nursing shortage, hundreds of     nied minors, single parents, the el-
     and political reasons. Human Rights       refugee nurses remain unemployed        derly and infirm and people of rural
     Watch has criticised the policy for its   because they cannot prove their         origin. Urban assistance programmes
     almost exclusive focus on assistance      qualifications.                         should therefore be complemented
     and for ignoring the very real pro-                                               by initiatives that provide humanitar-
     tection needs of refugees in urban        At the provincial or municipal          ian assistance to those refugees who
     areas.1 Although UNHCR has recog-         level UNHCR should work with local      are unable to compete in the urban
     nised the inadequacy of the policy2,      governments and businesses to help      environment. Such initiatives might
     it continues to struggle to develop       them identify their responsibilities    be located in geographically distinct
     a strategy that is legally sound,         to refugees and asylum seekers. With    areas, including purpose-built camps
     politically acceptable and financially    decentralisation, local governments     and settlements or designated zones
     sustainable.                              are increasingly responsible for        of assistance.
                                               primary health care,
     We believe that the existing policy       housing, policing and
     does not adequately address the           economic develop-
                                                                      UNHCR could develop a locally appropriate
     challenges and opportunities facing       ment. These are        urban refugee ‘starter pack’
     refugees in the world’s cities. An        critical components
     effective urban refugee policy – as       of refugee protection                   It is encouraging that UNHCR is re-
     with any refugee policy – should pro-     and UNHCR should ensure that refu-      visiting its urban refugee policy. This
     mote refugee rights and livelihoods       gees are included in programmes.        creates opportunities for refugees,
     without compromising the well-being       UNHCR should help local govern-         municipal governments, businesses,
     of those around them. Based on a          ments to recognise that excluding       service providers, academics and
     review of research on urban refu-         refugees from key programmes            advocates to engage with UNHCR in
     gees, the following recommendations       heightens social marginalisation.       developing a policy that can improve
     could help develop such a policy.         The agency should collaborate more      refugee protection in the world’s cit-
                                               closely with local advocacy groups      ies. We hope that UNHCR will solicit
     Strengthening UNHCR’s                     to identify challenges and monitor      and be open to the views of all, and
     advocacy role                             the effectiveness of measures to        we offer our suggestions as a contri-
                                               protect refugees. Such alliances must   bution to this process.
     In order to effectively advocate for      promote two-way communication in
     the rights of refugees and asylum         which local organisations can call on   Loren Landau is Acting Director,
     seekers UNHCR should promote              UNHCR when they identify specific       Forced Migration Studies Pro-
     the right to work for refugees and        problems which cannot be resolved       gramme, University of the Witwa-
     asylum seekers in accordance with         locally.                                tersrand. Email: landaul@migration.
     Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the 1951                                      
     Refugee Convention. UNHCR should          Material and livelihood
     engage with governments at the            assistance                              Karen Jacobsen directs the Refu-
     highest level – with prime ministers,                                             gees and Forced Migration Program
     presidents and relevant ministries.       While UNHCR need not provide            at the Feinstein International Fam-
     UNHCR should also work with local         ongoing material assistance to urban    ine Center, Tufts University, Boston.
     lobbying organisations to use exist-      refugees it could develop a locally     Email:
     ing legislation and the courts to open    appropriate urban refugee ‘starter
     labour markets to refugees. It is vital   pack’. This might include paying
     to ensure the provision of adequate       housing deposits or providing small
     documentation including travel            grants to acquire business tools        2. ‘Evaluation of UNHCR’s policy on refugees in
                                                                                       urban areas’ by Kemlin Furley, Naoko Obi and
     papers, work permits and photo            or equipment. UNHCR should also         Jeff Crisp, October 2002.
     identity cards. National initiatives      work with local organisations to as-    texis/vtx/home/opendoc.pdf?tbl=RESEARCH&id=
     should train relevant officials to        sist refugees in developing literacy,   3dddf3114&page=research

     recognise and respect these forms of      upgrading their professional skills,
     documentation. Support should also        accessing education and securing
     be given to professional certifica-       credit. Efforts should be made to
                          FMR 23                                                                                                                      53

UNIYA/Jesuit Refugee Service

                          Colombia: internal                        groups have warned that the lifting      manitarian law, condemn vigilante
                          displacement still on the rise            of the state of emergency in early       groups which have been set up by
                                                                    May is unlikely to reverse the coun-     some state officials and train civil
                          The number of people internally           try’s already deteriorating human        and military authorities on the rights
                          displaced in Colombia in 2004             rights situation. Professor Walter       of IDPs. He called on the Maoists to
                          increased by 38.5% on the previous        Kälin, the UN Secretary-General’s        respect the distinction between com-
                          year, according to a recent report by     Representative on the Human Rights       batants and non-combatants in the
                          a Colombian NGO. CODHES states            of Internally Displaced Persons          Geneva Conventions and to make a
                          that just over 287,000 people were        (IDPs), visited Nepal in April 2005      public commitment to adhere to the
                          displaced in 2004, compared with          with Dennis McNamara, Director           Guiding Principles on Internal
                          some 207,000 in 2003. Refuting            of the UN’s Inter-Agency Internal        Displacement, which is also ad-
                          these figures, the Colombian govern-      Displacement Division. They met          dressed to non-state actors.
                          ment insists that internal displace-      with senior government officials
                          ment decreased by 37% in 2004.            and also held meetings with Nepali       See
                          Church authorities have supported         NGOs, international and national aid     idp/20050422_nepal_mission.htm
                          CODHES, pointing to a substantial         organisations, UN agencies, donors
                          increase in inter-urban displacement      and members of the diplomatic com-
                          (which is unaccounted for in official     munity. Their mission resulted in
                                                                    agreement to establish a monitoring
                                                                                                               The Rights of Refugees
                          statistics) as well as the increasing
                                                                    operation to help establish account-       Under International Law
                          military strategy of blockading and
                          confining communities.                    ability for rights abuses and prevent      6-7 August 2005 : Oxford
                                                                    further violations.
                                                                                                               This weekend course focuses
                          Ahead of a meeting in February 2005
                                                                    Kälin noted that there is a wide-          on the specific human rights to
                          to discuss the implementation by
                                                                    spread pattern of conflict-induced         which all refugees are entitled
                          the Colombian government of UN
                                                                    displacement and that the numbers          under the 1951 Refugee Conven-
                          human rights recommendations,
                                                                    of IDPs are far greater than the 8,000     tion and its 1967 Protocol.
                          Amnesty International stressed that
                          “the human rights and humanitarian        cited by the Nepalese government.
                                                                    The majority of IDPs have not been         The goal is to equip policy
                          crises in Colombia remain critical
                                                                    registered by the authorities because      makers, advocates and scholars
                          with civilians targeted by all sides in
                                                                    of a restrictive registration process,     with a solid understanding of
                          the conflict – soldiers, army-backed
                                                                    the IDPs’ fear of declaring them-          the international refugee rights
                          paramilitaries and the guerrillas”.
                                                                    selves and the movement of many            regime. The course starts with
                          Amnesty reiterated that it will not
                                                                    conflict-induced displaced persons         an historical analysis of the
                          support any demobilisation pro-
                                                                    across the border into India. Profes-      evolution of refugee rights and
                          cess in Colombia that does not take
                                                                    sor Kälin found that the main causes       an introduction to the struc-
                          full account of victims’ rights to
                                                                    of population displacement are acts        ture of entitlement under the
                          truth, justice and reparation. It also
                                                                    of violence or threats against the         Refugee Convention. The rest of
                          recommended that the international
                                                                    population, practices of forced re-        the course focuses on three key
                          community support the creation of
                                                                    cruitment and extortion by the Mao-        themes selected for their con-
                          a mechanism to monitor compliance
                                                                    ist armed group, fear of reprisals by      temporary relevance: the right
                          with human rights recommenda-
                                                                    the Royal Nepal Army for allegedly         of refugees to enjoy freedom of
                                                                    providing food or shelter to Maoists       internal movement, to work and
                                                                    (even when this was provided under         to receive public assistance.
                          For more information see www.
                ,        duress) and a general climate of
                                                                    insecurity.                                Maximum 50 participants.
                          countries/colombia and the Global
                                                                                                               Instructor: Professor James C
                          IDP Project’s Colombia Report www.
                                                                    Emergency assistance has reached           Hathaway. Course venue: Queen
                                                                    only a very small number of IDPs.          Elizabeth House, Oxford, UK.
                                                                    Kälin stated that there has been no        Course fee: £130 (including
                                                                    coherent assistance and protection         course materials, refreshments
                          IDPs overlooked in Nepal
                                                                    response, either from the govern-          and lunch)
                                                                    ment or from national or interna-
                          Since 1996 Maoist guerillas have
                                                                    tional organisations. Kälin welcomed       Visit
                          been fighting to overthrow Nepal’s
                                                                    reports that the government is to          short.html or email rscmst@qeh.
                          monarchy. Rebels stepped up attacks
                                                                    develop a new IDP policy and urged
                          after King Gyanendra took absolute
                                                                    them to respect international hu-
                          power February 2005. Human rights
54                                                                                                                         FMR 23

     Falling asylum figures: a
     wake-up call for the EU?
                                                                                                          by Raymond Hall

             oncerns over illegal immi-        European governments have ceded           originate. By reinforcing the protec-
             gration and the spread of         control over their borders and their      tion in such regions, and ensuring
             international terrorism have      asylum systems to smugglers and to        that refugees have access to some
     moved the asylum issue up the col-        individuals misusing the asylum in-       durable solution or an acceptable
     lective and individual agendas of EU      stitution. As a result, asylum seekers    degree of self-reliance, not only
     member states. Asylum and illegal         are increasingly criminalised in the      can their rights and well-being be
     immigration have become issues on         public mind and stigmatised in a way      better ensured but the pressures
     which governments can fall, extrem-       that loses sight of the fact that many    which encourage onward secondary
     ist parties and views can prosper,        come from regions characterised by        movement of refugees can also be
     and elections can be won or lost.         conflict and widespread violations of     reduced.
     Crude numbers of asylum seekers           human rights and are thus in need of
     are not, however, the reason for this     protection.                               Any failure of the EU to provide ac-
     phenomenon.                                                                         cess to its territory and its asylum
                                               Moreover, concern over national se-       procedures for those seeking its
     UNHCR’s latest report on asylum           curity has further heightened hostile     protection raises serious concerns
     statistics1 indicates that asylum         perceptions and xenophobic reac-          in relation to state responsibility
     application levels in Europe are in       tions regarding irregular movements       and respect of international law. Not
     sharp decline, falling by 21% from        of people.
     396,800 in 2003 to 314,300 in 2004.       States have to     concern over national security has further heightened
     The 25 EU countries recorded 19%          reconcile their    hostile perceptions and xenophobic reactions
     fewer asylum requests in 2004.            legitimate con-
     Relative to national population size,     cern to control                           only does it set a bad example but
     Cyprus received the largest number        their borders and combat illegal          it would also risk unravelling the
     of asylum requests during 2000-           immigration with their voluntarily        international refugee protection re-
     2004 (22 asylum seekers per 1,000         assumed obligations to recognise          gime of which the 1951 Convention
     inhabitants), followed by Austria (18)    and provide protection to refugees.       is the cornerstone. As EU member
     and Norway (15). Objectively speak-                                                 states move into the second phase
     ing, it cannot be argued that the EU      At a national level, many of the ‘old’    of the development of a common
     is unable to manage such numbers.         EU member states have revised their       EU asylum system, let us hope that
                                               asylum laws in a restrictive direction;   they take note of the asylum trends
     The explanation of why asylum             at the European level many of these       highlighted in UNHCR’s report – and
     continues to be such a contentious        restrictive provisions have either        see it as an opportunity to put refu-
     issue is more complex. It lies in the     been incorporated or accommodated         gee protection back at the centre of
     fact that refugees and asylum seek-       in EU texts through provisions for        asylum policy.
     ers who arrive in Europe today are        exceptions, permitted derogations
     caught up in broader and increasing-      and scope left for national discre-       Raymond Hall is Director of
     ly globalised movements of migrants       tion. Some EU governments have            UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe
     seeking a better life in countries with   flirted with the burden-shifting          ( This article is
     mature economies. Since there are         approach, proposing the return of         based on a speech given at the
     very few legal channels for migration     asylum seekers from the EU to extra-      Cicero Foundation’s International
     into Europe, both asylum seekers          territorial processing centres.           Seminar on Refugee and Migration
     and economic migrants resort to ir-                                                 Policy in the EU, November 2004.2
     regular means of access, often mak-       The ‘problem’ of asylum in the EU
     ing use of smuggling networks. Once       cannot, of course, be solved in the       1. Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized
                                                                                         Countries, 2004, published 1 March 2005: www.
     in Europe, many would-be migrants         EU alone and there is much that can
     apply for asylum as the only way of       be done outside the EU. EU countries
     regularising their stay. At the end of    need to support the development           2.
     the asylum procedure, only a minor-       of asylum capacity in neighbouring
     ity of those whose cases are rejected     countries and help build protec-
     return to their countries of origin.      tion and promote solutions further
     All this feeds the perception that        afield in regions from which refugees
FMR 23                                                                                                                               55

                  Brookings Institution-University of Bern
                     Project on Internal Displacement

Safeguarding IDP voting rights
                                                                           by Erin Mooney and Balkees Jarrah

       lections are an important             and legitimate if voters can cast        to low turnout of Roma IDPs. In
       means by which IDPs can have          their ballots without fear of risk       Azerbaijan, electoral information
       a say in the political, economic      or harm.                                 was provided only in the Roman
and social decisions affecting their                                                  alphabet which most IDPs, who
lives. As citizens of the country in      ■ Restrictive residency require-            had been educated in the Cyrillic
which they are uprooted, IDPs are           ments: In successor states of the         alphabet, could not read.2
entitled to vote and participate in         former Soviet Union, lingering
public affairs, a right which is af-        influences of the propiska system     Left unaddressed, these barriers
firmed in the Guiding Principles on         (restricting freedom of move-         disenfranchise displaced voters and
Internal Displacement.1 In practice,        ment by tying the exercise of         further exacerbate the marginalisa-
however, IDP voters often find a            rights to an individual’s approved    tion and exclusion that IDPs so often
number of obstacles put in their            place of residence) continue to       suffer. They also undermine the
way. These include:                         hinder IDPs’ ability to vote in       legitimacy of the electoral process
                                            places other than their area of       overall.
■ Lack of documentation: Displace-          origin. In Georgia, the legacy of
  ment frequently results in the            propiska was reinforced by the        National as well as international elec-
  loss or confiscation of identity          political goal of promoting return    tion officials and monitors should be
  documents, making it difficult for        and resulted in legal restrictions    sensitised to the particular obstacles
  IDPs to register or vote on elec-         denying IDPs the right to vote for    that IDP voters can face and should
  tion day. Obtaining replacement           representatives in the areas where    systematically monitor and report
  documentation often proves dif-           they were ‘temporarily’ residing.     on how these problems are being
  ficult and may require IDPs to re-        As a result of civil society and      addressed. The Organisation for
  turn to unsafe areas. Issuing IDPs        international lobbying these re-      Security and Cooperation in Europe
  – women as well as men – with             strictions were removed in 2001.      (OSCE) has recently recognised the
  replacement documentation (a                                                    importance of paying greater atten-
  right set out in Guiding Principle      ■ Inadequate arrangements for ab-       tion to IDPs’ voting rights. Other
  20) should be prioritised.                sentee voting: Security concerns      regional organisations engaged in
                                            or practical difficulties, such as    election monitoring as well as the UN
■ Discriminatory practices: In              distance, can make it difficult for   Electoral Assistance Division should
  many cases, IDPs are members              IDPs to travel to polling stations.   also ensure that IDPs are freely and
  of ethnic or religious minority           Arrangements for absentee voting      fully able to exercise their right to
  groups who suffer discrimination.         are therefore important. In the       vote.
  In Croatia, displaced Serb voters         January 2005 election in Iraq,
  have in the past faced cumber-            polling stations were set up in       Forthcoming elections in 2005 in
  some registration procedures,             the camps for IDPs who had been       which IDP voting rights should be
  had access to fewer polling sta-          displaced from Falluja. Similar ar-   closely monitored include Croatia,
  tions than displaced Croats and           rangements may also be required       Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
  in some cases were barred from            in Liberia for IDPs remaining in      Afghanistan, Liberia and Azerbaijan.
  voting altogether.                        camps when elections are held in
                                            October 2005.                         Erin Mooney is Deputy Director and
■ Insecurity and acts of intimida-                                                Balkees Jarrah a Senior Research
  tion: In situations of displace-        ■ Lack of timely and clear in-          Assistant of the Brookings-Bern
  ment caused by conflict and               formation: To enable IDPs to          Project. They are the authors of a
  communal tensions, exercising             exercise their right to vote, they    recent study on IDP voting rights
  the right to vote can entail risks        must have timely information          in the OSCE region (www.brook.
  to physical security. For instance,       about arrangements in a lan-          edu/fp/projects/idp20041105_osce.
  IDPs from Chechnya must travel            guage they can understand. In the     htm). Emails: emooney@brookings.
  back for each election to home ar-        lead-up to the 2003 presidential      edu;
  eas that are often unsafe in order        elections in Chechnya, electoral
                                                                                  1. Principle 22 1(d).
  to collect a voting certificate. In       officials publicly contradicted one
  a number of countries, displaced          another in announcements about
  voters have been harassed en              IDP voting procedures. In Serbia,     2. IOM/Participatory Elections Project. www.iom.
  route to or at polling stations.          the lack of electoral information     sus1.pdf
  Elections can only be free, fair          in the Roma language contributed
56                                                                                                                              FMR 23

     Norwegian proposal to clarify
     refugee status                                                                                        by Vigdis Vevstad

         n April 2004 a meeting of the         tory provisions on Convention status      status to those for whom the state
         EU’s Justice and Home Affairs         and subsidiary status have been           is obliged to grant protection due to
         ministers adopted the Qualifica-      heavily criticised. UNHCR, ECRE and       the 1951 Convention as well as to
     tion Directive, a set of minimum          others have argued that any rights        those who are covered by other hu-
     standards for the qualification of        accorded to 1951 Refugee Conven-          man rights instruments and custom-
     third country nationals and stateless     tion refugees should also be granted      ary law. EU member states are bound
     persons as refugees or as persons         to all persons afforded subsidiary        by the same principles of refugee
     who otherwise need international          protection as both categories of          and human rights law as Norway. A
     protection. The 24 EU members             protected persons have similar needs      broadened refugee definition would
     bound by it (Denmark is not includ-       and circumstances. Other regional         therefore be fully in accordance
     ed) are required to incorporate the       initiatives have indeed done so and       with already existing obligations
     Directive into domestic legislation       granted refugee status to any person      on protection and discriminatory
     necessary by 10 October 2006.1            in need of international protection.      distinctions between persons in need
                                               Both the OAU Convention in Africa         of international protection would be
     The Qualification Directive is the        and the Cartagena Declaration in          eliminated.
     final element in a four-part package      Latin America contain broadened
     of measures aimed at establishing a       refugee definitions which include         Vigdis Vevstad is a special adviser
     common European asylum system.            war refugees and victims of massive       to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
     It secures a mutual understanding         violations of human rights.               She was a member of the expert
     of who is in need of international                                                  law committee which proposed a
     protection, both under the univer-        If EU states were to follow suit, the     new Norwegian Aliens Act in 2004.
     sal definition of the 1951 Refugee        problem of providing differenti-          Emails:;
     Convention and of those who are in        ated protection to 1951 Convention
     need of subsidiary protection. The        refugees and those with subsidiary
                                                                                         1. The text of the Directive is at: http://europa.
     Directive includes persons at risk of     protection status would cease to
     “serious harm”, defined as “… death       exist. EU members are able, if they so    l_30420040930en00120023.pdf
     penalty or execution; or torture or       wish, to introduce more favourable
     inhuman or degrading treatment…”          standards as the Directive allows for
     or a serious and individual threat        better conditions than the minimum
     to “…a civilian’s life or person by       standards it sets out. As EU states
     reason of indiscriminate violence in      begin transposing the Directive into
                                                                                               The Norwegian Refugee Council
     situations of international or internal   national legislation and administra-           (NRC) works to provide assistance
     armed conflict.” It also defines the      tive and judicial practice, Europe             and protection to refugees and dis-
     benefits to be enjoyed by family          has an opportunity to make a real             placed people in Africa, Asia, Europe
     members of the beneficiaries of           difference and place all refugees on          and the Americas. NRC was founded
                                                                                                       in 1946 in Oslo.
     refugee status or subsidiary protec-      an equal footing.
     tion status                                                                   
                                               Norway, although not a member of
                                                                                               The Global IDP Project is part of
     The Directive has been quite well re-     the EU, has recently made a sugges-
                                                                                               NRC and is an international non-
     ceived by refugee and human rights        tion which could serve as an example            profit organisation that monitors
     agencies. The European Council on         for Europe as a whole. A govern-                internal displacement caused by
     Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), of which      ment-appointed expert law commit-             conflicts. The IDP Database provides
                                                                                              public information about internal
     the Norwegian Refugee Council is a        tee in October 2004 proposed that
                                                                                                 displacement in 50 countries.
     member, has welcomed the Direc-           persons at risk of the death penalty,
     tive’s recognition of persecution         torture or other inhuman or degrad-       
     from non-state actors and acknowl-        ing treatment or punishment should
     edgement of child-specific and gen-       be given the status of refugees equal                The Global IDP Project
     der-specific forms of persecution.2       to that of refugees who fulfil the                  7-9, Chemin de Balexert
                                               requirements of the 1951 Conven-                   1219 Chatelaine, Geneva.
     However, there is controversy over        tion. The criteria are similar to those                   Switzerland
     the different rights granted to those     which under EU law qualify for                       Tel: +41 22 799 0700
     who achieve Convention status             ‘subsidiary protection’. If the pro-                 Fax: +41 22 799 0701
     as opposed to those who receive           posal is accepted by the Norwegian                 Email:
     subsidiary protection. Discrimina-        parliament, it will ensure refugee
     FMR 23                                                                                                                    57

     25 million IDPs worldwide:
     no change
            he worldwide internal dis-        assistance, nor are they sufficiently     IDP Project’s website at www.idp-
            placement situation showed        protected from violence and human, or ordered by emailing
            few tangible signs of improve-    rights abuses. In 2004, three in four (postal address
     ment during 2004, according to a         IDPs – more than 18 million people        opposite).
     report published by the Global IDP       – could not count on the authori-
     Project in March 2005. The report,       ties in their country for the provi-
     entitled Internal Displacement:          sion of adequate assistance. In 14
     Trends and Developments in 2004,         countries, with a total of over 12
     concludes that the total number          million IDPs, governments reacted
     of people internally displaced by        with hostility or, at best, indiffer-
     conflict and human rights violations     ence to the protection needs of the
     remained almost unchanged at 25          internally displaced. Even worse, in
     million.                                 at least 13 countries the very govern-
                                                             ments responsible
                                                             under international
“Internally displaced people are among the                   law for protecting their
most vulnerable victims of conflict, and                      citizens were them-
                                                             selves behind forced
constitute arguably the largest at-risk                      displacement and
population in the world.” [report]                           attacks on IDPs, either
                                                             directly or through
                                                             militias, including in
     While some three million people
                                              Burma (Myanmar), Nepal, Sudan and
     were newly displaced in 2004,
                                              Colombia.                                   Global IDP Project training
     mainly in Darfur/Sudan, Uganda and
     Iraq, about the same number of IDPs
                                              Attempts by the international com-          The Global IDP Project provides
     were able to return to their homes
                                              munity to fill the gaps left by na-         training to UN, international
     in the course of the year. The larg-
                                              tional governments remained weak,           NGO and national actors to
     est return movements took place in
                                              according to the report. Although           strengthen the knowledge on the
     the Democratic Republic of Congo,
                                              in 2004 agencies reaffirmed their           rights and needs of IDPs, pro-
     Angola and Liberia but there were
                                              commitment to ensure a collabora-           mote dialogue on IDP protection
     concerns that conditions in many
                                              tive and comprehensive response             and facilitate practical follow-up
     return areas would not allow for the
                                              to internal displacement, this did          activities such as coordination,
     sustainable reintegration of return-
                                              not lead to tangible improvements           monitoring and advocacy. In
     ees. Altogether some 50 countries on
                                              on the ground. The international            2004, the Global IDP Project con-
     all continents were affected by con-
                                              response continued to be crippled by        ducted eight training workshops
     flict-induced internal displacement.
                                              agency competition, diffuse respon-         and briefings for over 200 par-
                                              sibilities, lack of accountability and      ticipants. Workshops in Ethiopia,
     Africa remained the continent by
                                              insufficient resources. In 14 coun-         Somalia and Jordan (for the Iraq
     far the worst affected by internal
                                              tries, the UN – the largest provider of     country team) were organised
     displacement, hosting more than
                                              humanitarian aid – was not involved         following the UN Emergency Re-
     half of the world’s IDPs – over 13
                                              at all in providing targeted assis-         lief Coordinator’s request to the
     million people. Sudan was home to
                                              tance to IDPs.                              Global IDP Project to take over
     the world’s largest internal displace-
     ment crisis, with some 6 million                                                     responsibility for responding to
                                              The report this year includes not           UN Country Teams’ needs for
     IDPs. Other countries with large
                                              only sections on global trends and          training on the Guiding Prin-
     internally displaced populations
                                              regional developments but also              ciples and IDP protection.
     include Colombia (up to 3.3 million),
                                              chapters on major thematic issues
     the Democratic Republic of Congo
                                              related to internal displacement,           For more information on our
     (2.3 million), Uganda (up to 2 mil-
                                              such as health and nutrition, women         training programme, visit our
     lion) and Iraq (over 1 million).
                                              and children, property issues, and          training page at www.idpproject.
                                              shelter and housing. The full report        org/training.htm or email us at
     The report reveals that most IDPs do                                       
                                              can be downloaded from the Global
     not receive adequate humanitarian
58                                                                                                                       FMR 23

     Refugee protection
     and human rights                                                                  Refugee Studies Centre

     obligations in the EU
                                                                                       Queen Elizabeth House
                                                                                       21 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LA, UK.
                                                                                       Tel: +44 (0) 1865 270722
                                                                                       Fax: +44 (0) 1865 270721

                                                 by Maria-Teresa Gil Bazo    

             doption in 1997 of the          international human rights trea-          one fails to see how respecting the
             Amsterdam Treaty marked         ties. They are also accountable to        international legal framework that
             a major step towards the        the international bodies set up to        states have committed themselves
     establishment of a Common Euro-         monitor compliance, most notably          to observe (and which goes much
     pean Asylum System. The first set       to the European Court of Human            further than the non-refoulement ob-
     of legally binding instruments has      Rights. Over the past decades and in      ligation in Article 33 of the Refugee
     been agreed. While some progress        absence of an international refugee       Convention) can be seen as anything
     has been made towards incorporat-       court, human rights monitoring bod-       but a basic starting point in any seri-
     ing refugee rights into EC law, some    ies have developed a body of deci-        ous debate on this matter.
     provisions raise serious issues under   sions that complement the protec-
     refugee and Human Rights (HR) law       tion of refugees and others in need       The EU must ensure as a matter of
     and may result in judicial action       of protection.                            urgency that any proposals to ad-
     even before they are applied. The                                                 dress asylum systems in EU states be
     European Parliament has taken the       However, as the EU itself is not party    based on a well-informed analysis of
     Council before the European Court       to any international human rights         the facts (rather than on unfounded
     of Justice for violations of HR law     treaties it is not accountable to any     presumptions) and on a sound un-
     by adopting the Directive on Family     body charged with monitoring its hu-      derstanding of international refugee
     Reunification1 and may do so in         man rights record. While EU member        and HR law. They must also ensure
     relation to the Directive on Asylum     states remain individually account-       that international accountability is
     Procedures.                             able for their human rights perform-      guaranteed. Accession by the Union
                                             ance, the process of collectivising       to the Refugee Convention and other
     EU asylum policies extend beyond        asylum and migration policies has         international human rights treaties
     Europe. The so-called External          provided a good opportunity to            must therefore be carried out as
     Dimension2 aims to project the          revisit international obligations. The    soon as it becomes legally possible
     EU’s asylum and migration policies      Council has not even been account-        (the 2004 Treaty Establishing a Con-
     beyond its borders by incorporating     able to the European Parliament,          stitution for Europe already includes
     them into agreements with countries     which has repeatedly petitioned the       the obligation for the Union to ac-
     worldwide. When the Hague Pro-          European Court of Justice to obtain       cede to the European Convention on
     gramme was launched in November         access to documents and whose con-        Human Rights).
     2004 the EU declared its External       sultative opinions have often only
     Dimension to be a policy priority. An   come after agreement on legislation       As long as the EU’s asylum and mi-
     ever-widening number of countries       by governments had already been           gration policies fail to be grounded
     have either signed agreements with      reached.                                  in international refugee and HR
     the EU or are negotiating them in or-                                             obligations, these policies will not
     der to control migration movements.     The removal of asylum policies from       only lack legitimacy but will remain
                                             the control of national parliaments       incapable of achieving their expected
     How does refugee and HR law fit         and the scrutiny of international hu-     goals.
     within the ever expanding nature        man rights monitoring bodies raises
     of the EU’s asylum and migration        serious refugee protection concerns.      Maria-Teresa Gil Bazo is a Research
     policies? When they signed the          From a practical point of view, it        Fellow in International Refugee and
     Amsterdam Treaty, EU states shifted     is likely to result in an increase of     Human Rights Law at the Refugee
     competence to rule on certain           claims before national courts against     Studies Centre. Email: maria-teresa.
     aspects of asylum legislation to the    the application of EC asylum law by This article
     EC and therefore gave up part of        member states, something that runs        is extracted from a longer article
     their sovereign powers to control the   contrary to their stated goal to im-      online at:
     entry into and stay in their territo-   prove the efficiency of their asylum      gilbazo.pdf
     ries of refugees and others in need     systems.
     of protection. They also established                                              110014-16&type=Analysis
     that EU asylum law would need to        Statements of these concerns are          2.
     comply with refugee and HR law.         often labelled as ‘unconstructive’ by
                                             governments and those sympathetic              For more information about
     All EU states are parties to the 1951   to their inability to manage their asy-         research at the RSC, visit
     Refugee Convention and other            lum resources efficiently. However,       
FMR 23                                                                                                                   59

Foreign Territory: The                                                           on women and the application of the
Internationalisation of                                                          Guiding Principles to the South Asia
EU Asylum Policy                                                                 region. Contact Brookings-Bern Proj-
by David McKeever, Jessica Schultz                                               ect (see contact details opposite).
and Sophia Swithern. Oxfam GB.
March 2005. 131pp. ISBN 0-85598-
577-7 (English). ISBN 0-85598-559-3                                              Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced
(French). £5.00. Available in English                                            Humanitarianism
and French at                                                   by Guglielmo Verdirame and Barbara
ukpp/resources/foreignterritory.htm                                              Harrell-Bond. 2005. 480pp. ISBN
                                                                                 1-57181-527-9. $29.95/£19.95. (Vol
                                                                                 17, Forced Migration series, Berghahn

                                                                                 Aims to expose the gap between hu-
                                                                                 man rights norms and the mandates
                                                                                 of international organisations on
                                        rights institutions, civil society and   the one hand and the reality on the
                                        the displaced themselves to evaluate     ground on the other. “The central
                                        the extent to which governments are      argument is that the international
                                        exercising their national responsi-      and humanitarian organisations
                                        bility. Contact the Brookings-Bern       that are in charge of looking after
                                        Project at The Brookings Institution,    refugees are responsible for exten-
                                        1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW,            sive and avoidable violations of the
                                        Washington DC 20036, US. www.            rights of those dependent upon
                                      them.” (foreword by Justice Albie
                                        Tel: +1 (202) 797 6489 Email: brook-     Sachs) Contact Berghahn Books
The politicisation of asylum-related
                                                                                 (US/rest of world) berghahnmail@pre
issues and the desire to ‘manage mi-
                                        Internal Displacement in       
gration’ are the forces behind a wave
of new internationalised initiatives    South Asia: The Relevance of
which include inadequate safeguards     the UN’s Guiding Principles
for refugee protection and are insuf-   (Eds) Paula Banerjee, Sabyasachi
                                                                                 Learning to live together:
ficiently informed by an understand-    Basu Ray Chaudhury & Samir Kumar         Developing communities
ing of the realities of their lives.    Das. Mahanirban Calcutta Research        with dispersed refugee people
Policy analysis is interwoven with      Group with the Brookings-Bern            seeking asylum
original research into refugee reali-   Project on Internal Displacement. Jan    by Bogusia Temple and Rhetta
ties in Sri Lanka, DRC and Tanzania.    2005. 364pp. ISBN 0-7619-3329-8.         Moran. Joseph Rowntree Founda-
Includes agenda for action. Contact     Free.                                    tion. 62pp. ISBN 1-85935-286-3.
Oxfam Publishing, 274 Banbury                                                    £13.95 (+£2.0p&p). Free online
Road, Oxford OX2 7DZ, UK. Email                                                  at                                                             ooks/1859352871.pdf

                                                                                 Draws on the work of Refugee and
                                                                                 Asylum Seeker Participatory Action
Addressing Internal Dis-
                                                                                 Research, a voluntary organisation
placement: A Framework for                                                       working with refugees and asylum
National Responsibility                                                          seekers in Manchester. It assesses
Brookings-Bern Project on Internal                                               activities that have been useful for
Displacement. April 2005. 40pp. Free.                                            both the participants and their com-
Online at                                                  munities. Contact: York Publishing
projects/idp/20050401_nrframe-                                                   Services, 64 Hallfield Road, Layer-
work.pdf                                                                         thorpe, York YO31 7ZQ, UK. www.jrf.
                                                                        Tel: +44 (0)1904
The Framework identifies the steps                                               430033. Email: orders@yps-publish-
                                        Examines displacement caused by
that governments should take to                                        
                                        conflict, natural disasters and de-
achieve an effective national re-
                                        velopment projects in Afghanistan,
sponse to internal displacement, and
                                        Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal,
enables international organisations,
                                        Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Additional
regional bodies, national human
                                        focus on the impact of displacement
Land rights: a gift for refugees
in West Timor                                                                                   by Ingvild Solvang
In the West Timorese village of Sukabitetek, a wedding ceremony with a difference has
taken place. Local residents and refugees from East Timor have pledged their troth as
one community in a ceremony sealed with gifts – and land rights.

       he East Timorese who took ref-      The process of finding an appropriate     traditional approach will hopefully
       uge in Sukabitetek have been        traditional approach can help tie ref-    lay a solid foundation for long-lasting
       lucky. When they arrived five       ugee and local communities together,      good relations between both old and
years ago, fleeing the violence in East    creating a forum where people share       new families in Sukabitetek.
Timor, the local population welcomed       and learn about their cultural values.
them and the oldest man in the vil-        In the local community, local tradition   Ingvild Solvang is the JRS Indonesia
lage, Herman Besin, provided land          is stronger than legal documents. For     Advocacy Manager.
for temporary homes and gardens.           this reason, the Fetsawa Umamane          Email:
Although they are now Indonesian           ceremony provided an important
citizens, the 13 remaining refugee         supplement to the legal process.          For news and updates from JRS Indo-
families struggle to make ends meet        The combination of formal legal and       nesia, visit
on land which is not their own. Land
and water are scarce in poverty-rid-
den West Timor and the local popula-
tion is often no better off than the
former refugees.

After five years, however, Mr Besin
– a man of simple lifestyle and mod-
est means – astounded his neigh-
bours by offering to formally transfer
land rights to the refugees. “I see the
refugees as a part of my own family
now,” he explains. With help from the
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Indonesia
and a legal consultant, legal con-
tracts are drawn up. The agreement
is signed in the presence of govern-
ment officials and Mr Besin uses the
opportunity to ask the government
to provide improved water supply
and housing. “I hope that when the
government sees that a poor man like
me is able to help the refugees, they
will realise that they should also do
something,” Mr Besin says.

To cement the relationship the new
families are welcomed with Fetsawa
Umamane, a ceremony usually per-
formed at weddings. Mr Besin and his
family, as the givers of land, repre-
sent the bride’s family and offer five
lengths of hand-woven traditional
cloth – tais – to the refugees. The ref-
ugees – the groom’s family – respond
with a gift of money. JRS contributes
an ox for the feast and the refugee
families provide rice, vegetables and
spices. The whole community is in-
volved – in singing, dancing, reciting
poetry and preparing and sharing the
feast. Legally the refugees gain rights
to use the land and traditionally the
old and new families of the commu-
nity become one.

                                                Herman Besin,
                                                                                                                               Ingvild Solvang

                                                ready to welcome
                                                people to the ceremony