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Andrew Songa: An Argument for Incident, Impact and Redress Assessment (IIRA) as a Holistic Response to Internal Displacement: A Look at the Kenya Experience

The 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya saw 663,921 persons displaced. The Government undertook some ad hoc measures to assist the displaced which included: Ex-gratia payments to profiled IDPs; repair of houses and infrastructure; restoration of livelihoods; resettlement of IDPs living in self-help groups; distribution of relief food; peace-building and reconciliation.

These interventions were undertaken in the context of a mediated settlement facilitated by the African Union to end the violence. The process also yielded a transitional justice agenda which included: A Commission of Inquiry into the Post-Election Violence (CIPEV); the establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC); and a series of institutional, policy and legal reforms deemed as necessary to prevent the violence from recurring.

An assessment on the progress made in regard to these processes demonstrates a disjointed and discordant approach to addressing the concerns of IDPs from a humanitarian and justice perspective. This paper will utilize the Kenyan experience and propose the IIRA tool as a holistic approach that seeks to contribute to the realisation of redress for the impacts that bear on the dignity, well-being, wealth and habitat of persons, as a result of internal displacement. The redress component seeks to incorporate the concepts of durable solutions, reparations and criminal justice so as to propose redress options that addresses all facets of violations emanating from internal displacement.




  1. Laurence Juma: Protection of Rights of Urban Refugees in Kenya: The Likely Impact of the Abebe Dadi Tullu & Others V the Attorney General Decision

This paper examines some of the issues that have recently emerged regarding the capacity of domestic legal mechanisms to protect the rights of urban refugees in Kenya. One of those issues, and which informs the greater part of the discussion in this paper, is the profound inconsistency between human rights law and governmental policy on treatment of urban refugees. This issues has surfaced in the recent disputes coming before the courts and in the challenges arising from attempts to align governmental functions with the new constitution. In a broad sense therefore, the analysis in the paper is framed within the context of the new constitutional dispensation and the decision of the High Court in the case of Abebe Dadi Tullu & Others v The Attorney General (High Court of Kenya, Nairobi, Petition No 19 and 115 of 2013). The main argument advanced in the paper is that positive judicial pronouncements on disputes arising from abuse of rights by government are likely to widen the scope for legal protection of urban refugees in Kenya because they expand rights available to refugees and limit governmental action based solely on the policy of encampment. To support my view, I draw on studies conducted in the last two decades that are scathing, and rightly so, on the general dearth of workable governmental policies and programmes for the protection of refugee rights, to identify the perennial gaps. Thereafter, I analyse the existing legal frameworks for protection of rights and juxtapose them against the prevailing governmental approaches to refugee management and protection and its policy imperatives. And using jurisprudence, particularly the Abebe Dai Tullu case, I attempt to justify why the government’s approach that is solely based on the policy of encampment may be at variance with existing rights regime created by the new Constitution. While conscious of the fact that the policy of encampment is buoyed by recent incidences of insecurity in main urban centres, I argue that departing from such an entrenched policy position when faced with threat of insecurity may require radical changes, most certainly from the courts. In the end, the paper suggests that the inconsistency between law and policy makes judicial intervention on urban refugee issues much more critical for the development of law and policy favourable to refugees generally, and to urban refugees in particular, than hitherto advocated.




Panel 20

Respuestas a los refugiados haitianos


  1. Guliana Redin: Critica a la Política Inmigratoria Brasileña a los haitianos: límites del “Visado Humanitario” y el descompaso en relación a la política de intervención humanitaria encabezada por Brasil en Haití.

Especialmente después del terremoto en Haití en enero de 2010, la inmigración de haitianos a Brasil ha intensificado significativamente. Aunque el Brasil encabece la intervención humanitaria en Haití (Resolución n. 1542/2004 del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas) por diez años, reforzado en 2010 por los efectos del terremoto en el empeoramiento de la situación humanitaria en el país, la respuesta brasileña al tema de la inmigración haitiana se ha hecho caso omiso de estos factores que repercuten claramente en el Instituto del Refugio. El Brasil restringió la aplicación de la Ley 9474/97 (Ley del Refugio en Brasil) y, teniendo en cuenta la condición de vulnerabilidad de los haitianos, crió por la Resolución 97/2012 del Consejo Nacional de Inmigración el llamado "visado humanitario" para estos inmigrantes, les dejando en un limbo de protección y de interferencia del Estado: se reconoce que los haitianos están en una situación vulnerable, pero no les reconoce la condición de refugiado y, por tanto, no se extiende a todos ellos los derechos del instituto de protección humanitaria. Por tanto, este artículo tiene como objetivo examinar los límites de la política brasileña en materia de protección de inmigrantes haitianos, para identificar los efectos de la intervención humanitaria en el Instituto de refugio, así como la demostración de la falta de adecuación de la política exterior brasileña con los compromisos derivados de la protección internacional persona humana, que incluye el compromiso de asilo político y refugio.




  1. Juan Villalobos: Limitaciones del régimen Internacional de Refugio. El caso de la población haitiana en República Dominicana.

La presente ponencia tiene como finalidad presentar el trabajo final para la obtención del título de “Máster en Relaciones Internacionales con mención en Derechos Humanos y Seguridad otorgado por FLACSO Ecuador, el cual buscó determinar que el funcionamiento del régimen Internacional de Refugio no depende de los acuerdos formales del mismo, sino que depende de otro tipo de factores o lo que podremos llamar acuerdos no formales. En el caso del régimen internacional de refugio en República Dominicana en relación a la población haitiana su funcionamiento estará marcado por un exacerbado nacionalismo y por la política de seguridad nacional, lo cual limita la posibilidad de esta población de obtener protección internacional.


El estudio parte de la explicación contextual de los flujos de migración forzada de Haití hacia República Dominicana y de la explicación de las relaciones Dominico-Haitianas a lo largo de la historia. Posteriormente explica a partir de la investigación de campo desarrollada como estos elementos se ponen en juego, y como esto explica las limitaciones que tiene el Régimen Internacional de Refugio en este caso particular.
En el estudio se utilizan teorías de las Relaciones Internacionales (realismo y neo constitucionalismo) así como la Teoría de regímenes. El método propuesto para el estudio vincula el Estudio de caso con el neo institucionalismo, dando así una mirada más amplia del fenómeno estudiado.


  1. Marilia Leal y Andrea Pacheco: La actuación del sistema ONU en la protección de los derechos económicos, sociales y culturales de los haitianos en Brasil.

El objetivo de este estudio resulta la investigación de la actuación del sistema ONU en la protección de los derechos económicos, sociales y culturales de los haitianos en Brasil, con la finalidad de esclarecer la posición que los migrantes forzados - específicamente los desplazados ambientales - ocupan en el escenario internacional, fijándose en el hecho de la inexistencia de una protección específica para este tipo de migrante. Se trazará un panorama de las condiciones de vida enfrentadas por los haitianos en los campamentos localizados en la ciudad de Brasiléia, en el estado brasileños de Acre, y si ese tipo de asistencia que el Sistema ONU está disponiendo a eses desplazados, resulta suficiente para la protección de sus derechos económicos, sociales y culturales, teniendo en consideración las normas de derecho internacional humanitario. Como embasamiento teórico y metodológico, la investigación será de cuño teórico, en un abordaje cualitativo, a partir de las formulaciones doctrinarias de Castles (2005) y Zetter (2008 y 2010). A partir de este análisis, se observa que tal protección se presenta insuficiente. Ese proceso de efectuación de los derechos humanos por parte del Sistema de las Naciones Unidas, posibilita que los actores internacionales se sensibilicen con la problemática de las poblaciones ambientalmente forzadas a desplazarse, una vez que estas no pueden ser categorizadas como refugiados, y por tanto, no disponen de una protección legal específica.




  1. Luís Augusto Bittencourt Minchola: Refugee Protection in Cartagena’s Declaration: an analysis from haitian’s case in Brazil.

The recognition of the necessity of juridical protection for migrants who are required to leave their homeland has formed a part of discussions on migration in recent decades. In this direction, environmental disasters may force large flows of people out of their original regions. Consequently, a special treatment for those involved is required. This is the case of Haitian migrants who arrived in Brazil after the devastation of their country due to a large earthquake in 2010. Hoping to rebuild their lives, Haitians asked for refuge in the Brazilian State. However, it was not granted considering the argument that they would not fit in the requirements for categorization of a refugee, regarding an old concept of a refugee. Therefore, a merely humanitarian visa could be granted.


Nevertheless, Brazilian legislation, influenced by Cartagena's Declaration, could lead to a favorable interpretation to migrant's request, considering that it states that refugee status will be granted for those who have to leave their country due to a severe and generalized human rights violation, reflecting an advanced concept of a refugee. Taking this into account, a refugee status had to be granted for those Haitians, exposed to situations which don’t guarantee their own survival in their original State. Thus, this study intends to expose the possibility of protection through the concession of refuge to Haitian migrants according to Cartagena's Declaration, in counterpoint to the orthodox behavior assumed by the Latin-American country.
Panel 21

"Development-Displacement in Latin America: Why So Little Research  ? 


  1. CHEN Xiaonan Relocation support fund of dam caused resettlement in China.

Based on the history of involuntary resettlement for reservoir construction, the macro socio-economics and micro socio-economics background of reservoir resettlement is analyzed, the experience and lessons of reservoir resettlement is summarized. As follow, the present post-resettlement support (PRS) policies described from support beneficiaries, support funds and support ways three aspects, discussed onto flow of support fund and operation mechanism two angles. And then the stakeholders of PRS policies are analyzed, including electricity users, owners and managers of profitable large and medium reservoirs, people directly and indirectly affected by reservoir projects, various resettlement institutions; the governmental intervention methods and implementation of PRS policies are discussed. Finally, an empirical analysis on the satisfaction of 139 households resettlers induced by Xiangjia Dam in Sichuan Province is taken to assess the impact of support fund, and some recommendations are put forward to improve the PRS policies, including establish state resettlement institution, integrate government activities with market rules, encourage public participation, strengthen capacity building of rural organizations, and so on.




  1. SHI Guoqing Danjiangkou Resettlement village: A case of study



Panel 22

Conflict, other situations of violence and the protection granted under the 1951 Refugee Convention and Cartagena Declaration
The second half of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first century saw an unparalleled number of armed conflicts and other forms of violent situations leading to displacement. The causes of these situations have become more complex, the character has evolved, and the effects have diversified.
Although people should not be returned to threats to their lives or freedoms, international refugee protection is not open-ended. In fact, the 1951 Refugee Convention has often been set aside when assessing the eligibility for international protection of persons escaping the effects of conflict and violence. In 2014 UNHCR will be launching its Guidelines on International Protection for Person fleeing Armed Conflict and other Situations of Violence that will offer substantive and procedural guidance on the interpretation and application of international and regional legal instruments relevant for the protection of people fleeing violence and conflict across international border, including foremost the application of the 1951 Convention and/or 1967 Protocol. It will also identify in detail those who fall outside these instruments and explore possible alternative frameworks or instruments for those not falling within these instruments.
In this sense, regional refugee protection instruments, such as the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, have played a pivotal role in providing international protection to persons in need and who otherwise would not have been recognised as refugees. The relevance of this instrument remains vital today, having provided source and guidance to strengthen the refugee protection framework throughout the Americas, and particularly in the development of the Mexico Declaration and Plan of Action to Strengthen International Protection of Refugees in Latin America of 2004.
2014 will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Cartagena Declaration amidst serious protection challenges. Among these, most prominent, those derived from new forms of violence arising from protracted conflict situations and the emergence of new armed actors, in particular those involved in criminal organisations’ activities, operating both at national and transnational levels in some countries of the region. Yet, the 30th anniversary will also find the Americas in the midst of a renewed regional commitment to refugee protection and the strengthening of the existing legal frameworks to provide assistance and protection to persons in need.
This Panel will touch upon the following:


  • How is eligibility for international refugee protection determined for people fleeing armed conflict and other situations of violence?

  • How to interpret the well-founded fear concept of the 1951 Refugee Convention in situations of indiscriminate violence?

  • What Convention grounds are applicable to people fleeing armed conflict or other situations of violence and how should the ‘nexus’ be construed when people flee the indiscriminate effects of violence?

  • What is the effect on the interpretation and application of the 1951 Convention of the Cartagena Declaration definition developed explicitly to cover persons fleeing conflict, massive human rights violations and situations of generalized violence or public disorder, and how should the instruments interact?

  • The panel will further explore the origins and relevance of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees in the protection of persons in need in the Americas, considering current challenges and opportunities, and focused on:

  • The Cartagena +30 process road map;

  • State practice evolution in light of the Cartagena Declaration’s application along its 30 years of existence; and

  • How the Cartagena Declaration remains a relevant protection tool in light of the new situations of violence and conflict described, as per the conclusions reached by the Expert’s Meeting on the Interpretation of the Cartagena Refugee Definition called by UNHCR and held in Montevideo, Uruguay in November 2013.



Panel 23

New Scholar Network Work Shop
Panel 24

Round Table

Transitional Justice and Forced Migration –Substantive Links.
The proposed roundtable debate will bring together experts from different continents who will provide their opinions on the substantive links between transitional justice and forced migration and cement the beginnings of a larger project that brings together 7 research centers and scholars as well as activists who are directly involved with past and present mass political violence as it relates to forced migration.
Thematic Summary
Transitional justice has long been associated with advocacy movements and a special set of institutions that are expected to be mutually reinforcing or at least complementary in terms of moving forward in the aftermath of mass societal and political violence. Here, in a somewhat contrarian vein, our main tenet is to question this definition and its presumptions about socio-political and historical change from the point of view of the debates on transitional justice taking place across the Global South.
In an attempt to evaluate the long-term political significance and deep-seated socio-ethical dimensions of transitional justice movements, one has to look beyond transitional justice related policy measures and legal arrangements. Reform, reconciliation, restitution and reparation do not exit in a vacuum. Within this regard, right of return for the displaced, blanket amnesties, governmental and social uses of political amnesia, legal and pseudo-legal accountability measures, restorative justice schemes including compensation and redistribution programs, socio-cultural projects for recovery from societal trauma and calls for collective responsibility. The approach chosen is informed by the work of legal scholars and political theorists that have drawn attention to the dual role of law in relation to violence: protective of the status quo on the one hand and regenerative of a new socio-political order on the other.

While law can be a tool for responding to violence and exposing abuses of power, law is also utilized to obfuscate and legitimate abuses of political authority. As such, it is puzzling that for many decades, scholarship emanating from the Global North concentrated mainly on the ‘healing’ aspects of legal and semi-legal practices associated with transitional justice measures and movements. Rarely was enough attention paid to the challenges posed by a desire for a new form of justice in terms of questioning the legitimacy of prior political practices by confronting institutional and societal denial of mass violence. In contradistinction, transitional justice debates emanating from the Global South tend to focus on transforming the terms of the debate regarding past abuses of power while also acknowledging that governments often use transitional justice programs and projects as a framework to re-establish their legitimacy. In this latter context, there is a major concern about the cooption of the challenges and demands emanating from re-interpretations of a traumatic past.


This roundtable is exemplary of an approach that aims to develop a better understanding of this tension in order to shed light on problematic assumptions and unacknowledged trade-offs associated with the claims regarding the role of transitional justice projects, institutions and practices in advancing political reconciliation and societal acknowledgement of responsibility for mass atrocities. In particular, it will establish a much-needed platform of exchange among the scholars situated primarily in the Global South by discussing the implications of the historical trends in the study, funding and institutionalization of transitional justice projects at the global level as part of NGO/INGO [domestic and international non-governmental organizations] involvements in the Global South and internationally financed or endorsed advocacy programs.
Even as transitional justice projects and schemes struggle to deliver untempered truth, all-encompassing societal justice and reconciliation, in effect much heftier demands are being placed upon them in terms of providing inherent guarantees for long-term political peace. Over the past several decades, there thus emerged a ‘transitional justice industry’ that is keen to embrace a holistic approach to acute crises in the Global South. This rturn of events, however, did not bring forth the result an increased attention being paid towards historically constructed socio-economic inequalities and root causes of mass political violence and systemic abuses of power. As a response to the ‘instrumentalization’ of transitional justice debates by globally powerful think-tanks, INGOs and Western academic, we witness the burgeoning of an alternative discourse from the Global South where there is a marked shift in the definition of the very term transitional justice. In this new context, the political and academic discourses merge together to pave the way for discourse, projects and practices which pay respect to social histories of the societies effected by mass political violence, internal warfare, crimes against humanity committed by their own states, post-colonial legacies concerning state-society relations and redefining the territory covered by the legal-political language of economic and social rights.
In this context, it is equally essential to engage in a critical examination of the efforts made by and hopes invested in truth commissions and administrative reparations programs. The common avoidance of the direct addressing past systemic socio-economic wrongs by transitional justice projects is a key issue in this regard. It is true that complex legal processes are invoked by transitional justice programs as a necessary precondition for societies affected by mass violence in order to facilitate transition into a new period of peace, reconciliation and future socio-political stability. However, we must question this presumption that trials, truth commissions and other legal mechanisms would suffice to start large-scale societal processes of claiming accountability and responsibility for mass violence. A close analysis of classical cases in countries impacted by mass violence and long-term political repression—including but not limited to Argentina, Cambodia, Guatemala, Timor-Leste, Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Africa—reveals that we must have a fuller appreciation of the historical and socio-political contexts within which transitional justice projects take shape.

The relationship between transitional justice projects and visionary programs for socio-economic restructuring and for reversing structural underdevelopment is yet another one of the headlines that occupies the core agenda of the debates in the Global South. Again, the angle taken by political and academic debates in the South differs significantly from the vantage point entertained in the North pertaining to development. This issue is formulated in a very particular way in the context of Western scholarship and advocacy networks as they engage with the problems, concerns and future trajectories pertaining to societies in the Global South. Often, NGO and INGO funded work emanating from the Global North focuses mainly on the potential impact that transitional justice projects and policies may have on a state's ability to compete for international assistance or to embark on economic reconstruction programs in the aftermath of a crisis. The particular language used in this setting makes a suggested link between development, finance market stability, and justice. Studies that explore how stock markets in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil have responded to efforts to address past human rights abuses over time are key examples of such endeavors.


The overall concern that informs the current project is the way transitional justice measures, trajectories and debates that effect societies in the Global South have been tamed and streamlined in their scope and their application by Western hubs of academic, political and legal power at a global scale. Creating strict categories of when, to whom and for what transitional justice projects are expected to apply, global institutions and funders typically constructed or dictated transitional justice models that focus on specific sets of actors for predetermined circumstances of societal conflict and political crimes. This resulted in dangerously narrow interpretations of societal, political and structural violence as well as dictation of somewhat artificial time frames for change and restitution. It also led to the exclusion of many key actors, social groups and classes due to the selective emphasis on criminal proceedings. Such narrowing and resultant depoliticisation of transitional justice projects constitutes our main concern.
Across the Global South, there is a clear demand for reformulating justice starting from the grassroots level rather than the employment of the more traditional top-down institutional model. Seemingly unstructured movements lacking an institutional backing on how to cope with past political and societal violence are seen as reservoirs of immense potential ready to be translated into practical programs of action. Scholars, communities and activist networks in various regions and continents indeed contend that such an input is absolutely vital for long-term socio-political change. This window of opportunity that could allow for deepening our understanding of transitional justice points to the endemic potential of societies in the Global South to initiate and engage in a genuine response to violence from within.
However, in spite of recurrent calls for a more locally rooted approach to the building of ‘capacities’, internationally funded and guided transnational justice projects and operations remain largely influenced by an orientalist and/or developmentalist mindset. By and large, their aim is to transform ‘war-torn societies’ of the Global South into second degree or derivative liberal democracies, in both political and socio-economic spheres. To achieve this, the eyes are often turned to durable and reputable international structures such as the International Criminal Court in order to augment the rebuilding of the states, and presumably societies by extension, in question.
It is our belief that social movements and the politics of everyday life should not be a secondary target in terms of crafting models of transitional justice. They should be the primary one. In this regard, one has to make a distinction between the commonplace term ‘civil society’ and what we refer as social movements. The canonized and heavily instrumental approach to transitional justice focuses too much on ‘objective’-- i.e. legal and institutional-- sources of legitimacy and outcomes at the expense of those events and changes materializing at the local level and manifesting themselves in everyday life. As transitional justice became part of the new global liberal ethos of ‘peace-building’ since the late 1980s, it proceeded to devise a broad, positivist and largely elusive definition of peace itself. There is nothing wrong with the utopian impulse, and yet this application-oriented definition of peace hardly harbors much that resonates with the needs of the populations directly effected by long-drawn out conflicts with their own state and amidst their own society. The peace-building mold of transitional justice aims primarily at the rebuilding of state institutions and only as an afterthought with the reconstruction of social relations and supposedly unfettered encounters between communities, classes, and socio-political groups. The very state that became a battleground thus turns into the anchor upon which the future of a whole social and political system is predicated upon.
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