Refugee Rights: Ethics, Advocacy, and Africa

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Of the over 33 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world today, a disproportionate percentage are found in Africa. Most have been driven from their homes by armed strife, displacing people into settings that fail to meet standards for even basic human dignity. Protection of the human rights of these people is highly uncertain and unpredictable. Many refugee service agencies agree advocacy on behalf of the displaced is a key aspect of their task. But those working in the field are so pressed by urgent crises that they can rarely analyze the requirements of advocacy systematically. Yet advocacy must go beyond international law to human rights as an ethical standard to prevent displaced people from falling through the cracks of our conflicted world. Refugee Rights: Ethics, Advocacy, and Africa draws upon David Hollenbach, SJ's work as founder and director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College to provide an analytical framework for vigorous advocacy on behalf of refugees and internally displaced people. Representing both religious and secular perspectives, the contributors are scholars, practitioners, and refugee advocates - all of whom have spent time 'on the ground' in Africa. The book begins with the poignant narrative of Abebe Feyissa, an Ethiopian refugee who has spent over fifteen years in a refugee camp from hell. Other chapters identify the social and political conditions integral to the plight of refugees and displaced persons. Topics discussed include the fundamental right to freedom of movement, gender roles and the rights of women, the effects of war, and the importance of reconstruction and reintegration following armed conflict.The book concludes with suggestions of how humanitarian groups and international organizations can help mitigate the problem of forced displacement and enforce the belief that all displaced people have the right to be treated as their human dignity demands. Refugee Rights offers an important analytical resource for advocates and students of human rights. It will be of particular value to practitioners working in the field.