Elgar Studies in Human Rights series
Chapter 5: The International Conferences on Assistance to Refugees in Africa
In comparison to other regions in the world, such as South East Asia and the Middle East, Africa has a strong legal commitment to the protection of refugees. In 1969, the OAU (now the African Union) developed a definition of refugeehood that expanded the definition of a refugee to include those fleeing generalized violence. Since then, African countries have committed to the primary responsibility of hosting refugees, albeit with questionable implementation. This chapter examines a major set of arrangements developed for sharing responsibility for refugees in Africa, namely the International Conferences on Assistance to Refugees in Africa. ICARA I and II took place in the early 1980s and focused on obtaining extra-regional funding from the international community to support the protection of large-scale intra-regional refugee and returnee populations within Africa. The regionalism evident in this arrangement was arguably primarily about inter-African solidarity and containment and the arrangements are notable for their failure to fully achieve the goal of improved refugee protection.
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