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The OAU Convention was prepared, in part, to take into account the unique aspects of the refugee situation on the African continent, in light of the fact that the 1951 Convention definition of a refugee, as a "person fleeing a well-founded fear of persecution", had not considered several problems encountered by African refugees and was therefore seen as too narrow within the African context. One of the fundamental innovations of the OAU Convention is its expansion of the refugee definition, and the materials contained in this section highlight several elements of the definition that have had far-reaching effect. Further, this part highlights other significant contributions of the OAU Convention, for example that it expanded the principle of non-refoulement and that it is the only legal instrument that has codified a principle on the safe and humane voluntary repatriation of refugees.

The focus of the section will then turn to address various obstacles pertaining to refugee protection in Africa. It explores the interaction between the exclusion clause and the international criminal justice regime, a high profile issue at present. It also examines many facets of the relationship between refugees and the territories to which they flee. For example, it addresses the interface between refugee law and immigration law, the different situations of urban refugees and those who live in camps, the relations between refugees and their host populations, and the impact of resettlement and the problems that arise when it is not an available durable solution. This portion of the section also devotes attention to two especially vulnerable populations, foreign unaccompanied children and those who are internally displaced.