The African continent hosts over a third of the world’s forcibly displaced persons are found in Africa, including 6.3 million refugees and 14.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). The continent is also home to 509,900 asylum seekers and 712,000 stateless persons. Oftentimes, these forcibly displaced persons are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and violations in context of volatile migratory flows. Conflicts, natural disasters, the effects of climate change and other factors have left a large number of civilians in need of humanitarian assistance. Too often, displaced persons find themselves in protracted situations where solutions have become illusory. Increasingly displaced persons are hosted in communities and located in an increasingly organized environment. The particular situation of women and children is dire and access to key services considerably limited. While links between displacement on one hand and governance, peace and security on the other is recognized, its development dimension is not fully appreciated.
In recognition of these challenges and the prevailing need to recognize links between displacement and peace and security and its development dimension, the African Union (AU) Assembly at its 31st Ordinary Session held in Nouakchott, Mauritania on 1-2 July 2018 adopted a decision declaring 2019 as the year of “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.
The 2019 theme is timely given that the African Union has developed comprehensive and robust normative frameworks governing forced displacement. The year marks the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Convention) and the 10th anniversary of the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention). Agenda 2063, the African Union Humanitarian Policy Framework and the AU Common Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness have also outlined broader vision for revamping the humanitarian and development architecture. Several African countries have also embarked on the piloting of the Comprehensive Refugees Response Framework (CRRF) which, at the national level, encouraged policy reforms and implementation of innovative programs. These national approaches and practices are instrumental in the development of the Global Compact on Refugees.
The scale of these crises and their protracted nature require innovative and robust approaches to tackle root-causes and implement approaches that support durable solutions. Building on strong legal and institutional frameworks, political actions and effective and practical programs need to be designed and implemented.
The AU ECHO provides a platform for the 55 Member States of the African Union, and African citizens to profile the successes registered in Africa, and to impart knowledge and share experiences from Africa-led initiatives, based on the instruments and decisions of the African Union. It is published on an annual basis by the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the AUC, with a key focus on content aligned to the AU’s Theme of the Year.
The scope of the 2019 edition of the AU ECHO calls for evidence based articles on the progress that has been achieved as well as innovative initiatives that are being undertaken at institutional, country and continental level, with regard to promoting the implementation and operationalization of African Union’s strong legal and policy frameworks governing situations of forced displacement and attendant humanitarian crises on the continent as a sustainable path to a peaceful and prosperous Africa, guided by the relevant AU frameworks. Previous editions of the AU ECHO can be viewed here
Contributions are being sought from all AU organs, Regional Economic Communities, Member States, academia, think tanks, civil society organizations, women’s organizations and the wider public. The editors reserve the right to reject papers they deem to be inconsistent with the guidelines outlined in this call for papers.
• Languages: Articles for publication may be submitted in any of the AU working languages i.e. English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.
• Word count: Not more than 2000 words per article.
• Illustrations: Photographs and other illustrations that enhance the article are welcome, although these must be original to the author and/or under a creative commons license.
• All submissions must contain the full name and contact of the sender, his/her organization and job title (if applicable).
The AU ECHO will be distributed to Heads of State and Government of the African Union and other delegates as well as to offices of the African Union. Soft copies will be posted online to reach partners, academic institutions, media, civil society organisations and African citizens.
Manuscript submission deadline 1st March 2019 Publication: May 2019