A critical analysis of State responsibility to internally displaced children in Africa

Fawole, Charissa Esther (2018-12)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The issue of international forced migration has received much international attention of late, but the problem begins much closer to home. Internal displacement is a type of forced migration, which occurs within a State’s boundaries. Internally displaced persons (“IDPs”) outnumber refugees at least two to one. Africa is a continent with the largest number of IDPs. Another daunting reality is that a least half of all IDPs in children. Therefore, internally displaced children in Africa are a group of children that warrant special consideration. Internally displaced children can be described as persons under the age of 18 years who are forced to leave their place of habitual residence but do not cross an international border. For this reason, the State in which they are displaced has the primary responsibility for their protection and assistance. Situations of internal displacement present several risks to the physical security, basic needs, social, economic and cultural rights and the civil and political rights of internally displaced children. This thesis, therefore, examines the legal obligations that States have to internally displaced children. As a supplementary research question, it will examine the most effective means to hold States accountable for their obligations to internally displaced children. To determine the obligations that State have to internally displaced children this thesis includes a critical analysis of the key instruments that govern children’s rights law and the law on internal displacement that are applicable to internally displaced children in Africa. The instruments critically analysed in this thesis are the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s Protocol on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons and the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (Kampala Convention). A children’s rights perspective is the theoretical lens that used to critically analyse these instruments. The critical of the analysis of the key instruments demonstrates that the law, in theory, responds to the majority of the risks, rights and needs of internally displaced children. To address the secondary research question, the thesis examines the principle of accountability, the concept of sovereignty as responsibility, accountability mechanisms, the role of non-governmental organisations and practical steps for that facilitate State compliance with their obligations. Case studies of Uganda, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Sudan provide context to the study and provide an opportunity to examine the steps for the practical implementation of State obligations to internally displaced children, which supports accountability. The thesis concludes with recommendations and framework from a children’s rights perspective that have the potential to improve the protection and assistance of internally displaced children and encourage States to comply with their obligations to this group of children. The recommendations and framework combine the theoretical aspects provided by a critical analysis of the law with practical steps that operationalise accountability with a focus on internally displaced children.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Internasionale gedwonge migrasie geniet baie aandag en die realiteit daarvan manifisteer aan die tuisfront. Interne verplasing is ‘n tipe gedwonge migrasie wat plaasvind binne die grense van ‘n bepaalde land. Intern verplaasde persone (IVP’e) oorskadu vlugtelinge in ‘n verhouding van ten minste twee tot een. Afrika is die kontinent met die grootste getal IVP’e. ‘n Verdere uitdagende realiteit is die feit dat ten minste die helfte van alle IVP’e kinders is. Gevolglik word intern verplaasde kinders in Afrika beskou as ‘n groep wat spesiale aandag behoort te geniet. Intern verplaasde kinders kan beskryf word as persone jonger as 18 jaar wie gedwing word om hul gewone plek van verblyf te verlaat, maar wie nie internasionale grense oorsteek nie. Derhalwe het die land waarin hulle verplaas word die primêre verantwoordelikeid om hulle te beskerm en om bystand te verleen. Interne verplasing stel verskeie risikos daar wat betref intern verplaasde kinders se liggaamlike sekuriteit, basiese behoeftes, sosiale, ekonomiese en kulturele regte, sowel as siviele en politieke regte. Gevolglik ondersoek hierdie tesis die regsverpligtinge van ‘n Staat ten opsigte van intern verplaasde kinders. ‘n Aanvullende navorsingsvraag behels ‘n ondersoek na die mees effektiewe manier waarop State verantwoordelik gehou kan word vir hul verpligtinge teenoor intern verplaasde kinders. Ten einde die Staat se verpligtinge teenoor intern verplaasde kinders te identifiseer, word die hoofinstrumente van toepassing op kinderregte en die reg aangaande die interne verplasing van kinders in Afrika, krities geanaliseer. Die instrumente wat krities analiseer word in hierdie verhandeling sluit in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s Protocol on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons and the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (Kampala Convention). ‘n Kinderregte perspektief word as teoretiese lens gebruik ten einde hierdie instrumente krities te analiseer. Hierdie kritiese analise dui daarop dat die reg, in beginsel, meeste van die risikos, regte en behoeftes van intern verplaasde kinders aanspreek. Ten einde die tweede navorsingsvraag te beantwoord, ondersoek die verhandeling die beginsel van aanspreeklikheid, soewereiniteit as verantwoordelikheid, aanspreeklikheidsmeganismes, die rol van nie-regerings organisasies en praktiese stappe wat die nakoming van die Staat se verpligtinge fasiliteer. Gevallestudies, gemik op Uganda, die Sentraal-Afrikaanse Republiek, Nigeria en die Sudan verskaf konteks tot die studie, sowel as ‘n uiteensetting van die stappe wat geneem behoort te word ten einde die praktiese implementering van die Staat se verpligtinge teenoor intern verplaasde kinders te verseker. Die verhandeling sluit af met aanbevelings en ‘n raamwerk, gebaseer op ‘n kinderregte benadering, wat die moontlikheid bied tot meer omvangryke beskerming en ondersteuning van intern verplaasde kinders en wat State aanmoedig om hul verpligtinge teenoor hierdie groep kinders na te kom. Die aanbevelings en raamwerk kombineer die teoretiese beginsels soos uiteengesit deur die kritiese regsanalise, gepaardgaande met die praktiese stappe wat gefokus is op intern verplaasde kinders en wat aanspreeklikheid operasionaliseer.

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