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Abstract: This document provides an overview of the origins and current challenges of displacement flows by refugees and IDPs in Afghanistan. Furthermore, it presents, based on an open-source research, the potential flows that could occur in Afghanistan post 2014. Related information is available at www.cimicweb.org. Hyperlinks to source material are highlighted in blue and underlined in the text.
Abstract: The International Dialogue on Migration 2012 aims to enhance synergies between humanitarian and migration perspectives in the search for appropriate responses to migration crises. The second workshop in the series focuses on the plight of migrants who are caught up in crises in their countries of transit or destination. When countries of destination or transit experience political turmoil, conflict or natural disasters, their migrant populations often have few means to escape and ensure their own safety. Risks and vulnerabilities are exacerbated when migrants are in an irregular situation, or when countries of origin lack the resources, capacity and access to protect and assist their nationals abroad. Some migrants may be unable or unwilling to leave the crisis zone, while others may be forced to cross borders into neighbouring countries. As a result, repercussions may be felt regionally and beyond. Ultimately, migrants may escape crises by returning or being evacuated to their countries of origin, but challenges do not end there: countries of origin may struggle to receive and reintegrate large numbers of returnees, while the sudden loss of remittances may leave their families and home communities without income. The departure of migrant workers may also leave gaps in the labour markets of countries of destination which may in fact depend on migrant labour for post-crisis recovery and reconstruction.
The overall objective of the workshop is to support States in devising a framework of policies and actions to address the situation of migrants in crisis situations. Consistent with IOM's mandate and Strategy Document (activity 7), the IDM provides a forum for IOM Member and Observer States, as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other partners, to share experiences and perspectives on migration matters with a view to identifying practical solutions and fostering greater cooperation.
Abstract: In the past, forced displacement was usually the result of conflict and related
human rights violations. However, people increasingly are being forced to
leave their homes as a result of disasters. Over the past few years the number
of people displaced as a result of natural disasters has far exceeded those
displaced by conflict. Why is this happening? What are the consequences? And
what can be done about it?
These issues were the focus of a workshop on forced displacement and
natural disasters co-hosted by Norway and Switzerland in Vienna on
September 5, 2012. The workshop brought together representatives from states
as well as international and non-governmental organizations to share their
experiences in dealing with post-disaster displacement and to discuss ways of
finding durable solutions for those affected by such dramatic events. It also
provided an opportunity to identify and close gaps in international law and
policy, particularly in relation to the rights of persons who cross borders
seeking refuge as a result of natural disasters. The workshop participants were
also briefed on the new Nansen Initiative, an intergovernmental process
launched by Norway and Switzerland that seeks normative and institutional
measures to protect people displaced by natural disasters.
Abstract: Colombia has one of the longest-running armed conflicts in the world, as well as the highest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Oxfam research in the department of Nariño and in the Montes de María area of the department of Bolivar found that the Colombian government’s stabilization program (the National Consolidation Plan, or NCP) has not promoted peace, good governance, or sustainable development, as intended. The United States is one of the leading donors to NCP, along with Spain and the Netherlands. In the areas where we carried out our research, our interviewees clearly indicated that the NCP and other stabilization efforts had failed to make communities more secure, often leaving them less safe. We found severe limitations in attempts to promote conflict-sensitive development. This briefing paper explores these issues and offers recommendations to improve both security and development in Nariño and Montes de María.
Abstract: More than 14 years after they first fled
their homes, at least 29,000 people are
still internally displaced due to armed
conflict and violence in the North
Caucasus, and an unknown number of
people are still displaced elsewhere in
Displacement induced by the threat
and impact of natural hazards, especially
floods and wild fires, continues to
be significant in Russia. Though information
on such displacement and the
current situation of these IDPs is scarce.
Government figures of the number of internally displaced are not in line with international
standards and international organisations stopped compiling statistics on IDPs
displaced by armed conflict and violence in 2011. The lack of accurate figures limits the
government’s ability to effectively uphold IDPs’ rights and address their specific needs.
Despite massive reconstruction and the declaration that the conflicts in North Ossetia
and Chechnya are resolved, violence and human rights abuses are ongoing and impunity
of insurgents and law enforcement authorities continues in the region. This obstructs sustainable
return and integration.
The protracted conflict and insecurity, as well as dwindling assistance, lack of permanent
housing and economic stagnation are obstacles to their self-reliance. Internal displacement
is losing attention but not pertinence.
Abstract: The war in Syria is currently in a particularly complex phase with conflicting reports of rebel progress. Jihadist militias are growing in strength and capability, making it probable that they will have considerable influence and even power in a post-Assad Syria. At the same time, there are indications that elements supporting the Assad regime, including the Iranian government, recognise this and are planning for the aftermath with their own militias.
Abstract: This is a transcript of an event held at Chatham House on 12 March 2013.
The panel discussed the international community's role in supporting Afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal of international troops, including strategies for building up local security, the possibility of reconciliation with the Taliban, and how to address ongoing humanitarian needs in the country.
Speakers included: Dr Robert Johnson, Jawed Nader, Matt Waldman.
Abstract: In a new report, "Childhood Under Fire," launched to mark two years of violence in Syria, Save the Children details the impact of the conflict on children, showing that many are struggling to find enough to eat; are living in barns, parks and caves; are unable to go to school with teachers having fled and schools being attacked; and that damage to sanitation systems is forcing some children to defecate in the street.
Citing new research carried out amongst refugee children by Bahcesehir University in Turkey, the report also reveals the extent to which children have been directly targeted in the war, with one in three children reporting having been hit, kicked or shot at.
Combined with the breakdown of society in parts of the country and more than three million people displaced, the conflict has led to the collapse of childhood for millions of youngsters.
"Childhood under Fire" details how some young boys are being used by armed groups as porters, runners and human shields, bringing them close to the frontline, while some girls are being married off early to 'protect' them from a widely-perceived threat of sexual violence.
Abstract: Over the last ten years, as the European Union (EU) has tightened
its border controls and increasingly externalised its migration policies,
Morocco has changed from being just a transit country for migrants
en route to Europe to being both a transit and destination country by
default. MSF’s experience demonstrates that the longer sub-Saharan
migrants stay in Morocco the more vulnerable they become. This preexisting
vulnerability, related to factors such as age and gender, as well
as traumas experienced during the migration process, accumulates as
they are trapped in Morocco and subjected to policies and practices
that neglect, exclude and discriminate against them.
MSF’s data demonstrates that the precarious living conditions that
the majority of sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco are forced to live
in and the wide-spread institutional and criminal violence that they
are exposed to continue to be the main factors influencing medical
and psychological needs. MSF teams have repeatedly highlighted
and denounced this situation, yet violence remains a daily reality for
the majority of sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco. In fact, as this
report demonstrates, the period since December 2011 has seen a
sharp increase in abuse, degrading treatment and violence against
sub-Saharan migrants by Moroccan and Spanish security forces. This
report also reveals the widespread violence carried out by criminal
gangs, including bandits and human smuggling and human trafficking
networks. It provides a glimpse into the shocking levels of sexual
violence that migrants are exposed to throughout the migration process
and demands better assistance and protection for those affected.
These unacceptable levels of violence should not overshadow the
achievements that have been made in recognition and respect
for sub-Saharan migrants’ right to health over the last ten years.
Progress has been made, however considerable challenges remain,
particularly with regard to non-emergency, secondary care, care for
people with mental health problems and protection and assistance
for survivors of sexual violence. Further investment and reform of
the healthcare system is needed, however the impact of the progress
made to date and any future reforms will be limited unless concrete
action is taken to address the discrepancy between European and
Moroccan policies which view migration through a security prism
and criminalise, marginalise and discriminate against sub-Saharan
migrants in Morocco and those which protect and uphold their
fundamental human rights.
This report highlights the medical and psychological consequences
of this approach and the cumulative vulnerability of the significant
numbers of sub-Saharan migrants who are trapped in Morocco. In
doing so it calls, once again, on the Moroccan authorities to respect
their international and national commitments to human rights,
develop and implement protection mechanisms and ensure that sub-
Saharan migrants are treated in a humane and dignified manner,
no matter what their legal status.
Abstract: Fearful of the fallout from the rise of Islamism, global jihad and chemical weapons, Israel and Jordan have adopted a policy of containment and damage limitation towards Syria’s two-year civil war, leaving the warring parties to spar with and weaken each other. The two countries have expressed hopes for the demise of the Assad regime, but unlike Syria’s other neighbours – Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq – they have stopped short of allowing the rebels to open conduits through their territories. Unlike Syria’s other crossings, official border crossings into Jordan have remained either closed or in government hands. The Syrian uprising began in the south, in Dara’a on Jordan’s borders, but bereft of supply lines to sustain itself, it quickly moved north, closer to borders where the rebels were better able to procure the fuel, arms, and men required to take and hold territory. However, Israel’s and Jordan’s hands-off posture could be changing. Israel has reportedly bombed a consignment of Syrian arms apparently bound for Lebanon. And such is Jordan’s need to replenish its depleted coffers and so great its fear of popular discontent that in return for increased financial aid it is increasingly bowing to Saudi pressure to open its borders to rebel supplies, bolstering the performance of rebel forces in the south after a series of setbacks. Jordan hopes that Western reinforcements along its northern border will protect it against the chances of blowback. But the risks are manifold. Unlike Iraq’s conflict, from which Jordan was cushioned by 700 kilometres of desert, the war in Syria rages on Jordan’s populous northern border. Already 300,000 refugees have spilled into the kingdom, and both Jordan and Israel fear the conflict could increasingly travel with them.
Abstract: Eritreans have been seeking asylum in east Sudan for more than four decades and the region now hosts more than 100,000 refugees1. East Sudan has also become a key transit region for those fleeing Eritrea. One route, from East Sudan to Egypt, the Sinai desert and Israel has gained increasing attention. According to UNHCR statistics, the number of Eritreans crossing the border from Sinai to Israel has increased from 1,348 in 2006 to 17,175 in 2011. Coupled with this dramatic growth in numbers, the conditions on this route have caused great concern. Testimonies from Eritreans have increasingly referred to kidnapping, torture and extortion at the hands of human smugglers and traffickers.
The smuggling route from Eritrea to Israel is long, complex and involves many different actors. As such, it cannot be examined in its entirety in a single paper. This analysis consequently focuses on the movement of people from Eritrea to east Sudan, and from east Sudan to Egypt. A review of testimonies from Eritrean refugees and key informant interviews provide an understanding of the situation from the available data.
The paper is structured as follows. Following brief contextual information the paper opens with an examination of motivations and aspirations to leave Eritrea based on testimonies collected by UNHCR and NGOs in Israel and Cairo. This includes an overview of the current situation in Eritrea and the importance of the Eritrean diaspora in decision making. Section two addresses the changing refugee dynamics in east Sudan and why Shagarab refugee camp has become predominantly a place of transit rather than refuge.
The following section examines the role of smugglers in east Sudan. One group of smugglers mentioned in many testimonies are from an ethnic group known as the Rashaida. In order to explain their ubiquity in testimonies this section places human smuggling in the context of wider processes of trade, underdevelopment in the region and Sudan-Eritrean relations. It argues that the actions of a small number of Rashaida involved in the process of smuggling Eritreans are one of the products, not causes, of insecurity in the region. However, this should not detract from or lessen the human rights violations taking place along the route. To conclude the challenges and possibilities for protection, assistance and security are reviewed.
This paper is not a definitive guide to the situation and some pertinent limitations should be stressed. The situation is highly complex, fluid and subject to rapid change. There is currently research being undertaken that will detail specific routes, locations and individuals involved whereas this paper will outline trends and historical developments from the available literature. It is also important to note the testimonies examined in this paper were collected from those who had reached NGOs and UNHCR offices in Egypt or Israel and had specific protection concerns.2 There is therefore a bias within the testimonies and they do not reflect the myriad journeys and experiences of those who did not reach either of these destinations.
Abstract: UNHCR aims to be a fully age, gender and diversity inclusive organisation within the next four years.
Yet the 2011 global analysis of UNHCR’s accountability frameworks for Age, Gender and Diversity
(AGD) revealed that only 14% of its managers worldwide reported full achievement of targeted actions
for adolescents. This stands as one of the top four gaps in implementing the AGD policy.
This review explores UNHCR’s engagement with displaced youth, refugees and IDPs, by analysing
the agency’s mandate in relation to youth through its policies, guidelines and strategies, institutional
infrastructure, approaches to identifying and responding to the needs of displaced youth, current
funding, programmes and monitoring and evaluation processes. As general guidance this review uses
the UN definition of youth, that is, the age group of 15-24 years; yet it recognises ‘youth’ as a social
construct reflecting local understandings.
As age-disaggregated data is not currently collected for young people in the age group of 15-24
years, this report draws heavily on primary data collected as part of this review. The methodology includes
a survey of selected UNHCR staff, interviews with field-based staff and implementing partners,
and focus group discussions with youth in different displacement settings giving fascinating insight
into current views, perceptions, programmes and operations from UNHCR itself as well as young
Abstract: As the crisis in Syria enters its third tragic year, and
the daily headlines focus on military clashes and
political efforts to resolve the crisis, the world must
not forget the human realities at stake. The risk of
losing a generation grows with every day that the
situation deteriorates, while the progress made for
Syrian children in previous years is undone.
All around them, their dreams and opportunities
for the future are being lost. And as they lose
their childhoods . . . as their right to be children is
denied . . . their views of their neighbours are
coloured in ways that can create future
generations of self-perpetuating violence. With all
that implies for the region as a whole.
Children face tremendous dangers on a daily
basis. They are being killed, maimed and
orphaned by conflict. Health clinics that have not
been damaged or destroyed struggle to deliver
life-saving services. Clean water and adequate
sanitation – the most fundamental of daily
necessities – are increasingly scarce.
Many schools have been damaged, destroyed or
taken over by displaced people seeking shelter.
Countless children suffer from the psychological
trauma of seeing family members killed, of being
separated from their parents and being terrified
by the constant thunder of shelling. Girls and
women are further vulnerable to violence.
Many have fled their country to live in refugee
camps in neighbouring countries. And if all this
were not enough, they are enduring a bitterly cold
UNICEF and its partners are committed to
keeping Syria’s children from becoming a ‘lost
generation’. This report highlights some of the
critical efforts made to minimize the impact of the
crisis on children - including in life-saving areas
of health, nutrition, immunization, water and
sanitation, as well as investments in the future of
children through education and child protection.
Abstract: The recent increase in displacement due to conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has multiplied the risk of gender-based violence (GBV). At the same time, coordination efforts by the international aid community are failing to address the needs of women and girls. In 2009, United Nations Action on Sexual Violence in Conflict drafted a comprehensive strategy for combating sexual violence in the DRC, which was then adopted by the DRC government. However, challenges with leadership, information sharing, and funding are
hindering implementation of this strategy and actually obstructing urgent response to
beneficiaries. To ensure effective prevention and response to GBV, the current coordination mechanism should be abandoned in favor of a structure better suited to humanitarian crises.
Abstract: This month marks the two-year anniversary of the antigovernment protests that kicked off the Syrian uprising. So far, the conflict has claimed roughly 70,000 lives, made refugees of one million people, and displaced an additional three million. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged food, medicine, and non-lethal military aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), along with $60 million directed to the rebels' political wing to help with the provision of public goods and services in the rebel-controlled areas.
This is a good start, but in order to prevent further human catastrophe and the spread of Islamist extremism in Syria, Washington needs to do more. Specifically, the United States should aid opposition women's organizations. This strategy would help address the current humanitarian crisis and ensure that aid reaches its intended receipts, in addition to elevating the status of women in Syria.
Syrian women have been active in the fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime from the start, dating back to the peaceful demonstrations in early 2011 in the southern city of Dara'a. They have remained actively involved even as the fight has become bloody. I met several of these women revolutionaries during my recent trip to the rebel-controlled countryside of Idlib province and to towns on the Turkish-Syrian border. These women smuggle guns to the opposition and make improvised explosive devices in their kitchens. They work in field hospitals saving the lives of FSA fighters. They document incidents of torture and sexual violence, in the hope that such information will be useful in a future war-crimes tribunal. Whether Sunni, Kurdish, Christian, or Alawite, with hijab or without, these women are fighting for a common objective: a free Syria.
Abstract: This report provides an update to a policy brief issued in May 2012, on the situation of migrants who returned to their home countries as a result of the conflict in Libya in 2011. Now two years after mass returns began, the aftermath of the crisis continues to reverberate in countries across Northern and Western Africa as well as beyond, in Asia. To this day, albeit in much smaller numbers, migrants continue to leave Libya. While the timely intervention and transportation of returnees prevented an immediate humanitarian crisis from occurring on Libya’s borders, the return of vast numbers of migrants to their home countries was not without consequences. The Libyan crisis has posed a broader threat to peace and security in the region, and is clearly among the many factors that have contributed to the recent conflict in Mali. Even though the crisis has diminished, pressing humanitarian needs still remain. The circumstances of many continue to be difficult, with few job opportunities and challenges in adjusting back to family and community life.
While the initial policy brief focused specifically on returns to several West African countries, this update takes a broader view and looks at the situation of returnees in a number of African and Asian countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Niger, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Viet Nam and Bangladesh). This policy brief update first reviews the current situation of returnees and then, examines the measures taken to support them. Finally, it lays out some lessons for the future, by revisiting the recommendations made in the first policy brief issued in May 2012 in the aftermath of the crisis, regarding reintegration and community stabilization, migration management and capacity-building, and sustainable development. This case of migrants returning home from Libya also provides us with a larger lesson: once the immediate emergency is over, such returnees are likely to become a forgotten group, especially if they come from countries faced with new economic and political challenges.
Following decades of conflict, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Prolonged conflict, which included gender-based violence (GBV), exacerbated gender disparities. This study aimed to assess attitudes towards gender inequitable norms related to GBV and to estimate the frequency of GBV in sampled communities of South Sudan.
Applying a community-based participatory research approach, 680 adult male and female household respondents were interviewed in seven sites within South Sudan in 2009--2011. Sites were selected based on program catchment area for a non-governmental organization and respondents were selected by quota sampling. The verbally-administered survey assessed attitudes using the Gender Equitable Men scale. Results were stratified by gender, age, and education.
Of 680 respondents, 352 were female, 326 were male, and 2 did not provide gender data. Among respondents, 82% of females and 81% of males agreed that 'a woman should tolerate violence in order to keep her family together'. The majority, 68% of females and 63% of males, also agreed that 'there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten.' Women (47%) were more likely than men (37%) to agree that 'it is okay for a man to hit his wife if she won't have sex with him' (p=0.005). Agreement with gender inequitable norms decreased with education. Across sites, 69% of respondents knew at least one woman who was beaten by her husband in the past month and 42% of respondents knew at least one man who forced his wife or partner to have sex.
The study reveals an acceptance of violence against women among sampled communities in South Sudan. Both women and men agreed with gender inequitable norms, further supporting that GBV programming should address the attitudes of both women and men. The results support promotion of education as a strategy for addressing gender inequality and GBV. The findings reveal a high frequency of GBV across all assessment sites; however, population-based studies are needed to determine the prevalence of GBV in South Sudan. South Sudan, the world's newest nation, has the unique opportunity to implement policies that promote gender equality and the protection of women.
Abstract: Human Security Research is a monthly compilation of significant new human security-related research published by academics, university research institutes, think-tanks, international agencies, and NGOs.
In this issue:
NATURAL DISASTERS AND CONFLICT: When Disasters and Conflicts Collide: Improving Links Between Disaster Resilience and Conflict Prevention
SYRIA: Preliminary Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic
KENYA: Kenya’s 2013 Elections
COLLECTIVE VIOLENCE: It’s Who You Know: Social Networks, Interpersonal Connections, and Participation in Collective Violence
MEXICO: Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2012
TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME: Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa: A Threat Assessment
FAITH COMMUNITIES AND RESILIENCY: Local Faith Communities and the Promotion of Resilience in Humanitarian Situations: A Scoping Study
YEMEN: A Lasting Peace? Yemen's Long Journey to National Reconciliation
DISPLACEMENT: Displacement, Disharmony and Disillusion. Understanding Host-Refugee Tensions in Maban County, South Sudan
MENTAL HEALTH AND CONFLICT: Madness or Sadness? Local Concepts of Mental Illness in Four Conflict-affected African Communities
SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka’s Authoritarian Turn: The Need for International Action
JUSTICE AND RECONCILIATION: Peace, Justice, and Reconciliation in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in the Fight Against Impunity
Abstract: In December 2012, the Government of Kenya announced a directive that would force all refugees living in cities to relocate to camps, and shut down all registration and service provision to refugees and asylum-seekers in cities. This effectively empowered Kenyan security services to unleash a wave of abuse against refugees. That Kenya has not yet gone ahead with a forced relocation plan has led some to believe that the worst has been averted. Yet the directive caused severe harm even without being implemented. Many refugees felt forced to leave Nairobi following severe harassment. The directive has also been a set-back to Kenya’s notable advances in enabling urban refugees to support themselves, and it has put the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) global urban refugee policy at risk.
Abstract: The present study looks at developments in the areas of policy and process during the period 2001-2012 that sought to address “the gap(s)” that work against a smooth transition from humanitarian relief to development. This study is written primarily from the perspective of UNHCR, and mainly in relation to its efforts to engage development actors in the search for durable solutions to the plight of people forcibly displaced by conflict, especially for those who have been living in protracted situations of displacement. This study thus complements an earlier one undertaken by UNHCR in 2001.
The issue of the gap(s), or put more positively, the need for relevant linkages, to better ensure the transition from relief (humanitarian activities) to development, has now become a recurring theme, especially in deliberations on post-conflict early recovery. Although post-conflict situations still dominate reflections on early recovery and peacebuilding, the specificities of post-disaster situations (e.g. hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.), as well as the impact of slow-impact natural disasters such as drought, have now also been recognized. Thus, UNHCR’s main interest in the reintegration of returnees (either IDPs or refugees), or local integration, particularly of refugees in protracted situations, is only one element of many that now occupy the attention of the international community in addressing the subject of transition from relief to development.
Abstract: Crises and crisis-fueled displacement have always occurred. Today, however,
the scale and frequency of both conflict and natural disasters are leading to
larger and more complex population movements. One particular dimension of
contemporary crises is the presence of significant populations of nonnationals—
principally migrant workers and their families—in countries that
may be affected by crises. This was most recently demonstrated during the
conflict that engulfed Libya in 2011, resulting in population flows that tested
the response capacity of states, international humanitarian agencies, and the
international community as a whole. In Libya, an estimated 1.8 million
migrant workers (including an estimated 1 million to 1.2 million migrants
with no legal status) were caught in the conflict and required varying degrees
of protection.1 While the consequences of crises faced by migrants are not
new—the 1991 Gulf War, the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and
the 2011 crisis in Ivory Coast all affected several hundred thousand
migrants—the scale and impact of the conflict in Libya represented a wakeup
call for the international community. It illustrated the disproportionate vulnerability
of migrants during political turmoil and conflict in their destination
countries as well as their specific protection and assistance needs in regards to
evacuation and personal safety, especially when migrants are in irregular
situations. In addition, the large number of returning migrants demonstrated
the need for longer-term assistance in home countries.
This observation was at the center of discussions of a roundtable seminar on
“Migrants in Times of Crises: An Emerging Protection Challenge.” The
meeting was convened on October 9, 2012 by the International Peace Institute
(IPI) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The discussion
was part of the International Dialogue on Migration (IDM), IOM’s principal
forum for policy dialogue among migration stakeholders; countries of origin,
transit, and destination; international organizations; civil society; migrants;
and migration experts. In 2012, the IOM membership designated “Managing
Migration in Crisis Situations” as the overarching theme for the IDM. Two
previous IDM seminars took place in Geneva in April and September 2012 and
served, respectively, to explore the main concept of “migration crisis”2 and the complex interactions between crises and human
mobility, and to examine the particular
consequences of crises for migrants as well as the
resulting operational and policy challenges in
protecting them.3 The IPI-hosted meeting built
upon previous discussions, with the aim of raising
awareness among the international community in
New York of the issue of migrants caught in crisis.
Bringing the IDM discussions to New York for the
first time was particularly opportune to help inform
the second United Nations (UN) High-Level
Dialogue on International Migration and
Development that will take place on the margins of
the UN General Assembly’s next opening session in
Abstract: In November 2010, UNHCR launched a series of Dialogues in seven locations
around the world to give a voice to over 1,000 refugee, asylum-seeking and
internally displaced women and girls, as well as over 300 men and boys, and
to ensure this was heard and taken on board by UNHCR and other relevant
stakeholders. The Dialogues had several objectives: to increase awareness and
understanding of the protection issues facing women and girls, to enable an
inclusive and in-depth discussion among refugees and relevant stakeholders of
how these are being addressed and what could be improved, and to provide a
space for displaced women and girls to formulate concrete recommendations for
the way forward. Over one year after the Dialogues series was completed, positive
changes can be seen both in terms of the visibility of women’s and girls’ protection
issues and the responses of various stakeholders. This Progress Report sets out
a number of concrete, tangible steps that have been taken by various actors in
response to the specific recommendations made by women and girls during the
Dialogues. It is based on information obtained from UNHCR staff and some of the
UNCHR regularly consults with refugees and displaced men, women, boys and
girls of all ages and backgrounds. This has become a particularly well-established
practice throughout the Organization since its age, gender and diversity approach
was introduced in 2004. The Dialogues built on this, by providing a unique
forum to explore in detail the specific protection issues facing women and girls,
including with the involvement of men and boys. Given the length, structure and
methodology of the Dialogues, participants were able to engage in a particularly
frank and in-depth discussion and analysis of the protection issues they face.
They not only explored gaps and challenges, but also shared ideas as to how
various actors, including refugee women themselves, could better respond to the
issues identified. Critically, the Dialogues involved not only displaced persons and
UNHCR staff, but also representatives from UNHCR’s partners, non-government
organizations, government authorities and refugee and displaced communities.
Participants were therefore given an important opportunity to present the results
of their discussions and their recommendations directly to those in the position to
This report sets out in more detail – in relation to the ten protection areas
addressed – the progress that UNHCR staff, partners and displaced women and
girls have made in follow up to the Dialogues. It reinforces the immense value of
this process in having given a wide range of relevant stakeholders a much deeper
and more personal insight into the problems faced by displaced women and
girls, and a chance to hear first-hand their impressions as to how these can be
resolved. Fundamentally, the Dialogues have given a greater impetus and sense of
urgency to making protection more effective for women and girls. Despite difficult
operational contexts, competing priorities and a host of financial, social and
cultural obstacles, the Dialogues have
improved communication channels with
displaced women and girls, triggered
new initiatives, led to a re-focusing of
existing projects and programmes to
better respond to their needs, and built
a heightened sense of responsibility and
commitment in this area among UNHCR
and other relevant stakeholder staff and
– significantly – displaced women and
girls and their communities. Efforts will
continue to build on the momentum built
during this process and make, as far as
possible, the recommendations made by
participants in all locations a reality.
Abstract: The beginning of the military intervention in January 2013 and the rapid evolution of the conflict with the takeover of major towns in northern Mali by the Malian, French and African Union troops suggest that a rapid and spontaneous return of the populations displaced in the southern regions of Mali since the beginning of the conflict in 2012 may take place.
In this context, IOM Mali conducted an intention survey targeting 836 displaced families from northern regions currently living in the Bamako and Koulikoro regions and registered in the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) database. The survey was conducted by phone between February 2nd and 4th, 2013.
Abstract: Government attacks on the judiciary and political dissent have accelerated Sri Lanka’s authoritarian turn and threaten long-term stability and peace. The government’s politically motivated impeachment of the chief justice reveals both its intolerance of dissent and the weakness of the political opposition. By incapacitating the last institutional check on the executive, the government has crossed a threshold into new and dangerous terrain, threatening prospects for the eventual peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections. Strong international action should begin with Sri Lanka’s immediate referral to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and a new resolution from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) calling for concrete, time-bound actions to restore the rule of law, investigate rights abuses and alleged war crimes by government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and devolve power to Tamil and Muslim areas of the north and east.
Sri Lanka is faced with two worsening and inter-connected governance crises. The dismantling of the independent judiciary and other democratic checks on the executive and military will inevitably feed the growing ethnic tension resulting from the absence of power sharing and the denial of minority rights. Both crises have deepened with the Rajapaksa government’s refusal to comply with the HRC’s March 2012 resolution on reconciliation and accountability. While the government claims to have implemented many of the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) – a key demand of the HRC’s resolution – there has in fact been no meaningful progress on the most critical issues:
the government has conducted no credible investigations into allegations of war crimes, disappearances or other serious human rights violations;
rather than establish independent institutions for oversight and investigation, the government has in effect removed the last remnants of judicial independence through the impeachment of the chief justice;
there has been no progress toward a lasting and fair constitutional settlement of the ethnic conflict through devolution of power;
the military still controls virtually all aspects of life in the north, intimidating and sidelining the civilian administration;
more than 90,000 people remain displaced in the north and east, amid continued land seizures by the military, with no effective right of appeal and no fair process for handling land disputes;
government security forces have broken up peaceful Tamil protests in the north, detained students on questionable charges of working with the LTTE and actively harassed Tamil politicians;
the government has responded with force to protest and dissent in the south, too, deploying troops to prevent the newly impeached chief justice and supporters from visiting the Supreme Court while pro-government groups attacked lawyers protesting the impeachment.