Protection, human rights and forced migration
The keynote address begins with a discussion on the role of the international human rights system in the protection of people who are displaced either within the borders of a country or forced to cross national borders in order to seek refuge from conflict situations. It explores the extent to which protection premised on the international human rights system has been streamlined within international mechanisms for protection. Some of the jurisprudence of human rights bodies relating to such protection is highlighted. The address then turns to the problem of non-compliance with international human rights norms by States Parties to international treaties and conventions. By implication this raises the question of the effectiveness of the current protection system in the face of impunity by governments and when fundamental political, economic and social problems inherent in conflict situations have not been resolved. A brief account of the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan is given as an example of such impunity. The last part draws attention to the challenge of providing protection in an urban setting in South Africa in the context of xenophobic attacks and the ensuing displacement of refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, labour migrants and undocumented migrants.