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“They Say They’re Not Here to Protect Us”: New IRRI Report on AMISOM

International Refugees Rights Initiative (IRRI) today launched a report about civilian perspectives on the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), whose mandate has been recently renewed. This report is based on interviews with 62 Somalis and is the third in a series on civilian perspectives of peacekeeping forces in Africa.

The report highlights that many in Somalia hold views that are very critical of the peacekeeping mission, especially about its failure to protect civilians, about some of the troop-contributing countries and about peacekeeper abuses. Citizens struggled to understand the mission’s mandate and often had difficult relations with the mission.

“The AU and UN should ensure that protection of civilians is a central objective of the AU peace operation and that it has the capacity and resources to do so,” said Andie Lambe, Executive Director of IRRI. “It should go without saying that the AU and the UN should ensure that the voices of citizens who live in the midst of the conflict are taken into account, which unfortunately does not appear to have been the case.”

To read the full report, click here, and for the full press release, click here.

Click here to read IRRI's letter to AMISOM.

IRRI Rights in Exile Newsletter

Issue 82: June 2017

In this issue:

Conditions in hotspots are chilling

Hungary leaves negotiations with EU Commission and prepares for legal battle

Refugee advocates are losing the war of ideas

Australia's forcible deportations of unwell asylum seekers: Legal obligations

Canada: Thousands excluded from benefit of increased age of dependent children

Hungary: New legislation undermining rights of asylum seekers enters into force

National Immigration Law Center responds to continuation of Haitian temporary protected status programme

Despite hiring, United States immigration court backlog and wait times climb

The future of asylum in India

Read the full issue.

DR Congo: UN Should Investigate Kasai Violence

271 groups urge prompt Human Rights Council action

(Geneva, June 1, 2017) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today. The 35th session of the Human Rights Council begins June 6, 2017, in Geneva.

“The violence in the Kasai region has caused immense suffering, with Congolese authorities unable or unwilling to stop the carnage or hold those responsible for the abuses to account,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “An independent, international investigation is needed to document the abuses, identify those responsible, and help ensure justice for the victims.”

Between 500 and 1,000 people have been killed in the Kasai region since large-scale violence between the Congolese army and the Kamuina Nsapu movement broke out in August 2016, according to the UN. Human rights activists and UN monitors have had difficulties reaching parts of the region, so the actual number of dead may be significantly higher.

“The Human Rights Council’s engagement now is critical to help protect civilians from further violence, and to press for accountability for serious violations and abuses both by the Congolese army and armed groups,” said Paul Nsapu, deputy secretary-general of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “A strong message is needed to show that these crimes won’t go unpunished.”

Read the call to action here (English) and here (French).

2016 Annual IRRI Report on exile and displacement: Causes, solutions and rights protection

The International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) publishes an annual report on progress made in three focus areas: 

  • identifying the violations that cause displacement and exile;
  • protecting the rights of those who are displaced, and
  • ensuring the solutions to their displacement are durable, rights respecting, safe and timely.

The 2016 report summarizes our work and looks ahead to the coming year. From continued coverage of the crisis in Burundi to bringing international attention to conflict in Sudan, IRRI has increased the visibility of multiple refugee issues.

IRRI also worked to protect rights in exile by publicizing deportation in Europe, Israel and beyond with the Post-Deportation Monitoring Programme. We equipped refugees with information to self-advocate with individual casework and our legal aid online portal.

Finally, IRRI has catalysed policy-level discussions with our reports and recommendations on Dafur, South Sudan, and Somalia. We have seen our suggestions acknowledged and accepted by the UK Foreign Office, UNMISS and the UNHCR. We contributed a chapter to the book Solving Statelessness and published Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging, the result of seven years of research.

To read the full report, click here.