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Main Debates

What are the regional legal bases for refugee protection in Africa?

How enforceable are these rules and standards proclaimed in the regional refugee law and human rights instruments at national courts?

Is refugee protection legal or political?

Does the OAU Convention fill the gaps in international refugee law?

Does the OAU Convention adequately address the unique issues facing African refugees?

Main Points

Individual v. group-based status determination

Similarities and differences between the OAU Refugee Convention and the 1951 UN Convention

Substantive v. Procedural elements

Refugee rights and duties in the light of the African refugee law and human rights frameworks

States’ ratification of the relevant instruments v. their compliance

National legislation of refugee law v. policy-based administration of refugees

Complementarity between the regional and international refugee protection frameworks

Treaties

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990).

African (BANJUL) Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered into force 21 October 1986 (ACPHR) – The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights is the supervisory organ of the ACPHR. It has been tasked to monitor States’ compliance with the OAU Refugee Convention and to encourage States to implement the OAU Refugee Convention in its domestic law.

OAU, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 21 I.L.M. 58, 27 June 1981.

OAU, Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, 10 September 1969, 1001 U.N.T.S. 45.

Cases

African Institute for Human Rights and Development (on behalf of the Sierra Leonean Refugees in Guinea) v. Guinea, Communications No. 249/2002 (2004), AHRLR 5 (2004), pp. 57-66.

Recontre Africaine Pour la Defence des Droits de l’Homme v. Zambia, Communication No. 71/92(1996), AHRLR 1(2000), pp. 321-325.

Organisation Mondialecontre la torture v. Rwanda, Communications 27/89, 49/91 and 99/93 (1996), AHRLR 1(2000), pp. 282-286.

Soft-law

M. Sharpe, ‘The 1969 OAU Refugee Convention and the Protection of People Fleeing Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence in the Context of Individual Refugee Status’. January 2013, PPLA 2013/01 [Part of the Legal and Protection Policy Research Series for the Division of International Protection].

‘Protection of Refugees in Mass Influx Situations: Overall Protection Framework’, Global. Consultations on International Protection, 1st mtg. U.N. Doc. EC/GC/01/4 (19 February 2001).

The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, 30 January 2007.

Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act of the African Union, 11 July 2003.

Constitutive Act of the African Union, 11 July 2000.

‘The Scope of International Protection in Mass Influx’, Executive Committee of the UNHCR, Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection, 26th mtg. U.N. Doc. EX/1995/SCP/CRP.3 (2 June 1995).

‘Note on International Protection’, International Protection in Mass Influx, Executive Committee of the UNHCR, 46th Sess., UN Doc. A/AC.96/850 (1 September 1995).

Addis Ababa Document on Refugees and Forced Population Displacements in Africa, adopted by the OAU/UNHCR on 10 September 1994.

‘The Personal Security of Refugees’, Executive Committee of the UNHCR, Sub-Committee of the Whole on International Protection, 22nd mtg. U.N. Doc. EX/1993/SCP/CRP.3 (5 May 1993).

Khartoum Declaration on Africa’s Refugee Crisis, adopted by the OAU Seventeenth Extraordinary Session of the Commission of Fifteen on Refugees, meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, 22–24 September 1990.

OAU Doc BR/COM/ XV/55.90. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, 12 June 1983.

Resolution on the Second International Conference on Assistance to Refugees in Africa (ICARA II) AHG/Res. 114 (XIX) The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, 12 June 1983.

UNHCR, EXCOM on Protection of Asylum Seekers in Situations of Large-Scale Influx, Conclusion No. 22 (XXXII), 1981.

Readings

Core

M. Sharpe, ‘Organization of African Unity and African Union Engagement with Refugee Protection: 1963–2011’, African Journal of International and Comparative Law, vol. 21 (2013), p. 50.

E. Odhiambo-Abuya, ‘Past reflections, Future insights: African Asylum Law and Policy in Historical Perspective’, International Journal of Refugee Law, vol. 19, no.1 (2007), pp.51-95.

G. Okoth-Obbo, ‘Thirty years on: A Legal Review of the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, vol. 20 (2001), pp.79-138.

A. Zimmermann and C. Mahler, ‘General Provisions’ in Zimmermann A. (ed.) The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, A Commentary, (2011), pp. 185-203.

Extended

J. Oloka-Onyango, ‘Human Rights, the OAU Convention and the Refugee Crisis in Africa: Forty Years after Geneva’ International Journal of Refugee law, vol. 3 (1991), pp.453-460.

M. Katzarova and A. Korkeakivi, African Exodus-Refugee Crisis, Human Rights and the 1969 OAU Convention: a Report of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (New York: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1995).

M. R. Rwelamira, ‘Two decades of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa’, International Journal of Refugee Law Review, 1(1989), pp.557-561.

 III.1. An Overview of OAU Convention Governing the specific Aspects of refugee problems in Africa III.1. An Overview of OAU Convention Governing the specific Aspects of refugee problems in Africa

TreatiesTreaties