The Protection of Rights of Refugees in Protracted Situations in Ethiopia: The Case of Women/Girls Refugees in Kebribeyah Camp of Ethiopia

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Date

2011-04

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Addis Ababa

Abstract

The unjilrling display of mass flow of reji/gees from the neighbouring countries including Somalia desperately requiring protection has been met with all equally legitimate concern of states to tender to the socio - economic and security concern of the public. The international legal frame work has thus recognized for the protection of refugees by also allowing states to make reservation in accordance with their interest on those rights under the convention, where in Ethiopia the reji/gee proclamation provides for the protection of their rights with the exception on those regardingfreedom of movement, right to work and self-reliance, and the right to education. In this study, the Kebribeyah camp found in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia consists of refugees, where the restriction of such rights have created a negative impact on the physical, social and economic condition on those living in protracted situations and particularly on women and girls who are vulnerable groups consisting of the majority of reji/gees in the camp and who are also bearing the social responsibility to tender to the day to day living needs of their families, to be victims of various violations.There fore it was crucial to examine, assess and evaluate the positive and negative effects of the situations of refugees particularly on those women / girls living in protracted situations it the camp, the nexus between such effects and the policy options, take lessons to similar reji/gee settlements with the ultimate goal of studying the possible means of enhancing the protection scheme in upholding the rights of such refugees by reconciling their interests with that of the locals In order to achieve the objectives, both primary and secondary sources were used Primary sources include primary international and national legal legislations as well as policy documents. Others include data obtained from formal and informal survey procedure which includes interview, focus group discussions, open ended questionnaires etc. Secondary source of the research include literature review of writings of prominent scholars and data collected from secondary sources. The lack of in concordance between the current realities of the situation of refugees in protracted situations and the legal framework both at the international and national level has led slIch reji/gees particularly that of women to live in situations detrimental to their physical ,social and economic well being. The findings of the research show that despite the fact that some positive results have been obtained in providing basic assistance and protection to reji/gees in the areas offood, education and health services, many of those women and girls have been victimized by the reji/gees them selves andthe locals resulting in the various violations of their moral ,physical and social well being and other fundamental rights because of their low living standards caused by the cumulative effects of restrictions on their rights particularly freedom of movement, education, right to self - reliance and work opportunities. Some of the challenges faced those women / girls refugees include Poverty, Rape, Domestic violence, SGBV, caused by the refugees who are in distress and also those populations that prey on their vulnerabihty due to the absence adequate legal protection, various· violations of their rights in irregular secondary movements, the limitations in the access to courts and also the negative impacts in the maintenance of effective education for such reji/gees. This has thus necessitated the adoption of a more comprehensive legal frame work both at the national and international level that is directed in the protection of the rights of refugees in protracted situations in the camp as suggested by this research. The limitations or restrictions should be made to exclude rejilgees living in protracted reji/gees for more than fived years. Such actions should also be met with a synergetic framework at the international and national level where the assistance provided to reji/gees by the international community goes beyond providing basic assistance and goes towards providing development assistance, legal migration opportunities to reji/gees to third countries. The development assistance provided to reji/gees should also be made to include the local populations in kind of providing training, market opportunities tv local products and those activities that are within the limits and prospects of the country 's programs which will have a tremendous impact in the eventual removal of legitima:e concern of the state towards refugees regarding their negative. impact in the socio- economic life of the public. The time legal period of five years also provides for the protection of refi/gees in protracted situations while at the same time allowing the state to have the appropriate time and spae in removing threats to national security and order.

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