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  • Refugee status determination and rights in Malawi

    24 February 2014

    Malawi has been both a producer and recipient of refugees from its neighbours in the last three decades. In the early 1960s and 1970s, followers of the Jehova’s witness religion were forced to flee the country, mostly into Zambia after their religious beliefs clashed with the ruling Malawi Congress Party ideologies. Scores of people also left Malawi fleeing political persecution to neighbouring countries during the same period of one party rule under the Malawi Congress Party. On the other hand, Malawi has been receiving refugees from Mozambique, initially during the struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, and hosted over one million Mozambican refugees between the 1980s and early 1990s when the Frelimo government and Renamo opposition movement were engaged in a highly destructive civil war. The influx of Mozambican refugees is believed to have forced Malawi to rush the process of ratifying the relevant international refugee instruments as well as drafting the Refugee Act, which came into force in 1989. Currently, Malawi continues to receive refugees, mainly from the Great Lakes region and the horn of Africa, and issues of refugee rights which were relevant during that period when it hosted over a million refugees remain important. This paper highlights the situation of refugee rights in Malawi, including the refugee status determination (RSD) mechanisms and process. The first part of the paper presents an introduction including country background and a brief overview of the legal system. Section two focuses on the refugee conventions and international human rights instruments that Malawi has ratified. The section also discusses the impact of international law on the domestic legal system. The domestic refugee framework is discussed in full detail in section three. The section highlights the provisions of the 1989 Refugee Act as well as RSD mechanisms. It also discusses the impact of reservations to international instruments and the outdated Refugee Act on the enjoyment of rights by people who seek protection in Malawi. Section four submits recommendations and conclusions.

  • Refugee status determination in South Africa

    24 February 2014

    This paper outlines the situation in which the asylum system operates in South Africa and its connection to the immigration system. It raises certain challenges within the asylum system and recommends policy changes, which could be used to address these challenges.

  • Refugee status determination and refugee rights in Tanzania

    24 February 2014

    Tanzania gained its independence from British colonial rule on 9 December 1961. Since her independence, Tanzania has been an independent territory having a common law legal system similar to the British one, which has been undergoing modifications from time to time to suit local circumstances. In addition, Tanzania is a dualist state, meaning that all international instruments to which Tanzania accedes must necessarily be ratified1 by the parliament to form part of the domestic legal system. Under the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 (hereinafter, the Constitution), the rule of law concept is clearly reflected in the principle of separation of powers.2 Whereas, the fundamental principles reflected in this concept are the supremacy of parliament, independence of the judiciary and observance of human rights by the executive. These are the bases that form the three pillars of the state, i.e., the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. In practice, however, the executive is de facto more powerful as compared to the rest, which, more often than not, makes the executive override the powers of the legislature and the judiciary. Nevertheless, the judiciary enjoys enormous powers that are guaranteed by the Constitution. And, in practice, the judiciary has been at the forefront of defending the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights, as part of guaranteeing the right to access to justice. The right of access to justice is a fundamental right, which is also part and parcel of the rule of law.

  • Politics of Innocence: Hutu Identity, Conflict and Camp Life

    12 August 2014

    Based on thorough ethnographic fieldwork in a refugee camp in Tanzania this book provides a rich account of the benevolent “disciplining mechanisms” of humanitarian agencies, led by the UNHCR, and of the situated, dynamic, indeterminate, and fluid nature of identity (re)construction in the camp. While the refugees are expected to behave as innocent, helpless victims, the question of victimhood among Burundian Hutu is increasingly challenged, following the 1993 massacres in Burundi and the Rwandan genocide. The book explores how different groups within the camp apply different strategies to cope with these issues and how the question of innocence and victimhood is itself imbued with ambiguity, as young men struggle to recuperate their masculinity and their political subjectivity.

  • Materialising Exile: Material Culture and Embodied Experience among Karenni Refugees in Thailand

    12 August 2014

    Focusing on the highly diverse Karenni refugee population living in camps on the Thai-Burma border, this innovative book explores materiality, embodiment, memory, imagination, and identity among refugees, providing new and important ways of understanding how refugees make sense of experience, self, and other. It examines how and to what ends refugees perceive, represent, manipulate, use as metaphor, and otherwise engage with material objects and spaces, and includes a focus on the real and metaphorical journeys that bring about and perpetuate exile. The combined emphasis on both displacement and materiality, and the analysis of the cultural construction and intersections of exilic objects, spaces, and bodies, are unique in the study of both refugees and material culture. Drawing theoretical influences from phenomenology, aesthetics, and beyond, as well as from refugee studies and anthropology, the author addresses the current lack of theoretical analysis of the material, visual, spatial, and embodied aspects of forced migration, providing a fundamentally interlinked analysis of enforced exile and materiality.

  • Remaking Home: Reconstructing Life, Place and Identity in Rome and Amsterdam

    12 August 2014

    Rather than emphasising boundaries and territories by examining the ‘integration’ and ‘acculturation’ of the immigrant or the refugee, this book offers insights into the ideas and practices of individuals settling into new societies and cultures. It analyses their ideas of connecting and belonging; their accounts of the past, the present and the future; the interaction and networks of relations; practical strategies; and the different meanings of ‘home’ and belonging that are constructed in new sociocultural settings. The author uses empirical research to explore the experiences of refugees from the successor states of Yugoslavia, who are struggling to make a home for themselves in Amsterdam and Rome. By explaining how real people navigate through the difficulties of their displacement as well as the numerous scenarios and barriers to their emplacement, the author sheds new light on our understanding of what it is like to be a refugee.

  • Iron in the Soul: Displacement, Livelihood and Health in Cyprus

    12 August 2014

    In his vivid, lively account of how Greek Cypriot villagers coped with a thirty-year displacement, Peter Loïzos follows a group of people whom he encountered as prosperous farmers in 1968, yet found as disoriented refugees when revisiting in 1975. By providing a forty year in-depth perspective unusual in the social sciences, this study yields unconventional insights into the deeper meanings of displacement. It focuses on reconstruction of livelihoods, conservation of family, community, social capital, health (both physical and mental), religious and political perceptions. The author argues for a closer collaboration between anthropology and the life sciences, particularly medicine and social epidemiology, but suggests that qualitative life-history data have an important role to play in the understanding of how people cope with collective stress.