Access to Socio-economic Rights for Refugees: a Comparison across six African Countries

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are only a handful of countries which host the largest number of refugees and IDPs on the continent. This puts hosting countries’ resources under huge pressure, making inevitable the need to find a common solution to share the global responsibility for hosting refugees. Moreover, the number of refugees living in a protracted refugee situation, in some cases for decades, is increasing dramatically, thus making countries of asylum in Africa reliant on foreign aid and humanitarian assistance provided by the UN Refugee Agency. This makes it clear that it is not only necessary to tackle the root causes of displacement, but also to find durable solutions for those individuals who have spent almost their entire lives in exile searching for peace and safety.

Apart from a few isolated cases in which African governments have adopted ‘open door’ policies and implemented good practices to integrate the refugee population, the most common reaction is to not welcome refugees, preventing them from accessing the territory and restricting their entitlements to socio-economic rights such as basic education, healthcare and employment. The denial of basic human rights and the erosion of refugee protection in Africa are both issues of great concern which require a collective effort in order to ameliorate the hardship experienced by refugees. The issue of refugee protection in Africa is extremely complex and far from easy to fix.

Tags: Mobility in Africa    refoulement; asylum; Africa; refugees    sub-saharan Africa