Source: Urban Refugees
With the exception of Tanzania, all the countries in Africa’s Great Lakes region have generated refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in large numbers over the past decades. And despite huge efforts to resolve conflict and displacement, by any standard the number of refugees and IDPs remains painfully high.
This opinion piece argues that the framework of citizenship can contribute positively to a better understanding of, and better policy responses to, forced displacement in this region. In making its argument, it draws on nine case studies carried out in the Great Lakes by the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) over six years, as well as a paper that draws together some of the implications for policy makers. Citizenship in this context is understood as access to a bundle of legal rights enjoyed by nationals of a given State; and more broadly as recognition of the right and status of a person to belong in a given political community with all the attendant obligations and other rights.