Domestic Legal Frameworks for Refugee Protection in sub-Saharan Africa: A Practice-Based Regional Panel

Domestic refugee legal regimes, constituted by states’ refugee legislation and related rules and regulations and procedures in practice, constitute a key aspect of migration governance. They establish the procedures through which refugee status is determined and the standards of treatment refugees can expect to enjoy during the period of asylum. Yet paradoxically these domestic legal regimes have been little explored. As migration governance in Africa is increasingly anchored in law, as opposed to ideology or humanitarianism, and as African states are adopting new refugee acts, it is a particularly salient moment to examine the role of domestic refugee legal frameworks in governing refugee movements in Africa. IASFM 13’s location in Kampala makes the conference an ideal forum for such examination. In November 2010, the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) of the University of Oxford will host a two-day workshop on refugee status determination (RSD) and rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Day one of the workshop will consist of three regional panels composed of practitioners from central, east and southern Africa, each of whom will present on the domestic RSD and refugee rights framework in his or her home country. We propose to convene a panel for IASFM 13 following on from the RSC event, including the Uganda presenters (Namusobya and Sharpe) and three further individuals, whose participation will be secured at the RSC event in November. The panel will offer a critical appraisal of the domestic refugee law frameworks of four African countries, placing domestic frameworks for refugee protection in comparative perspective. Particular attention will be paid to whether domestic legal regimes meet the standards for admission and treatment set by international refugee and human rights law. It is hoped that the panel will stimulate a discussion of innovations or best practices from each of the four countries covered.

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