Refugee Rights News






2015 2014 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2005

Will the Big Fish Be Cooked? Congolese Reactions to the Start of the Bemba Trial

Olivia Bueno,, December 8, 2011

As the trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba started in The Hague on November 22, Kinshasa was abuzz with the news. Newspapers carried the story as front page news. “Bemba Giving Up His Ex” cried the full page cover of Le Soft, while La Prosperite read “Bemba Faces the Judges.” Congolese television broadcast the opening statements in their entirety and radio outlets offered an overview. All in all, there was a serious mobilization of news outlets to cover the trial. In the words of one Congolese activist, “The ICC has just had its first real public audience in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Read more

Hoping for peace, afraid of war:
the dilemmas of repatriation and belonging on the borders of Uganda and South Sudan

IRRI's Senior Researcher Lucy Hovil has written UNHCR's latest working paper on the process of repatriation of Southern Sudanese refugees in Uganda. While the official repatriation process continues, the paper demonstrates that refugees are creating their own durable solutions through a combination of economic and social integration and ongoing movement in and out of Sudan. The paper explores both the process of official repatriation and the practical survival strategies and how to create better resonance between the two.

Read the full paper here

The Lubanga Trial Resumes

Olivia Bueno,, October 13, 2010.

The October 8, 2010 decision by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was awaited with apprehension by victims of international crimes in Ituri, politicians, and others. While the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) declared that they were eagerly awaiting Lubanga’s return, many victims feared the potential security consequences. The Ligue pour la Paix et les Droits de l’Homme (LIPADHO), based in Bunia, noted “victims and intermediaries were worried, unsure of the reaction from supporters of the Forces Patriotiques pour la libération du Congo (FPLC), the armed branch of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC), still very active in the field.”

Read more.

Kabila’s Visit Highlights Tension Over Lubanga Trial

Olivia Bueno,, September 24, 2010.

Last week, Congolese President Joseph Kabila arrived in Ituri as part of a tour of the eastern part of the country, which has also touched the Kivus and Katanga. His visit promised a number of development projects for Ituri, but not everyone was impressed. To some, the visit was dismissed as so much campaigning ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) 2011 elections.

Read more.

Lubanga’s Missing Co-Perpetrator: Who is Bosco Ntaganda?

Olivia Bueno,, September 15, 2010

For watchers of the International Criminal Court (ICC), there has been a flurry of recent activity around the suspension of the proceedings against Thomas Lubanga. The Office of the Prosecutor is appealing and spectators are eagerly awaiting the decision from the appeals chamber. At the same time, there has been talk about the failure of the court to arrest the man charged alongside him – Bosco Ntaganda.

Read more.

The Road to Justice Started with a Game

The Observer
02 June
By Dismas Nkunda

So, last Sunday we had a football match in preparation of the Review Conference of the Rome Statute that is still ongoing here in Uganda.

Dubbed as a stocktaking exercise of the last 12 years that the International Criminal Court has been in existence, the football match was bound to have some tickling moments.

Read more.

Pambazuka News
29 April
by Dr. Lucy Hovil

Naturalisation of Burundian refugees in Tanzania: A new home?

It is rare for host countries to offer refugees citizenship, especially in a context such as the Great Lakes region where millions have been displaced. Instead, most governments wait for circumstances to change so that refugees can go back to their home country.

Tanzania, however, has taken the bold and commendable decision to offer citizenship to 162,000 Burundian refugees who fled their country in 1972 and who have since been living as refugees in Tanzania. While it is important not to detract from the level of generosity that this demonstrates, the process itself has revealed a fundamental disjuncture between rhetoric and reality. Only when the gap between the two has substantially reduced, it is argued, can it be judged a success.

Read the article here.

The Observer - Uganda
January 17
By Dr. Lucy Hovil

Sound alarm bells over forced repatriation

The crises that create mass displacement often grab the headlines. War and genocide and the consequent exile of people have a hard sell. More hidden, however, is the way in which displacement ends, long after the drama of flight is over.

One such hidden ending is taking place in Tanzania and Burundi, as refugees who fled to Tanzania in the aftermath of violence in Burundi in 1972 are facing renewed trauma as moves are made to end their exile. On the plus side, they are being offered a choice between returning to Burundi or staying in Tanzania and applying for citizenship. On the downside, research has shown that in practice neither option is really the complete solution it claims to be.

Read the article here.

Ethiopian Reporter
January 23
By Dismas Nkunda

2010: a critical year for Sudan

January 9 had marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The agreement was a milestone achievement lauded by the international community. The CPA laid out a roadmap not only for ending a devastating civil war pitting North against South that killed an estimated two million people and displaced millions more. The agreement did not stop there, however, It also called for democratic transformation in Sudan.

Unfortunately, over the past five years, the peace in Sudan has been anything but comprehensive. War has raged in Sudan's western Darfur region, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives and displacing another 2.5 million people. Although the scale of violence has declined in recent months, there is no comprehensive political solution and violence could reignite at any time. At the same time, critical elements of the CPA were stalled or frustrated, and the promise of democratic transformation has all but evaporated.

Read the article here.

The Observer - Uganda
January 13
By Dismas Nkunda

If Sudan coughs we will catch flu

It is not Uganda alone that is facing a crucial moment in its political landscape. There are other regional configurations we have to squarely look at; for if left alone, the ramifications could be bad for the region.

There is a day that passed without many of us paying attention. January 9, 2010 marked the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that saw the end of decades of war in Sudan. The agreement was a milestone.

The marginalisation that had created an impasse in Africa’s largest country was seen to be over. The CPA laid out a roadmap ending a devastating civil war pitting the North against the South, during which an estimated two million people were killed and millions more displaced. The agreement also called for  democratic transformation in Sudan.

For some, the willingness of the late leader of SPLM, Dr. John Garang, to enter bed with the North, was humbling. Give and take was the norm.

Read the article here.