Reviewing the application of the Cessation Clause of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees in Africa
This paper attempts to address the questions of when and how protection should end and the impact of the highly individualized 1951 Convention on mixed-motive, mass refugee flows. Using the Ethiopian caseload in Sudan as a case study, the paper surveys the Cessation Clauses of the 1951 Convention and the criteria developed by the UNHCR to assess fundamental change in the country of origin. The paper grapples with the difficulties in assessing fundamental change in protracted and complex civil conflicts and points out the challenges of delivering fair cessation procedures during mass refugee influxes. The paper also discusses the consequences of ill-conceived cessation declarations on refugees and recommendations on the role of the UNHCR, which has an influential presence in Africa. I argue that the 1951 Convention cannot address the complexities of cessation declarations in Africa on its own. The paper asserts that cessation declarations in Africa must be considered within the framework of durable solutions and with due regard for the OAU Convention.