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Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Human Rights

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Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Human Rights Timothy H. Holtz, MD, MPH Emory Human Rights Week 2005 With gratitude to Basia Tomczyk, RN, PhD – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Human Rights


1
Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and Human
Rights
Timothy H. Holtz, MD, MPH Emory Human Rights Week
2005 With gratitude to Basia Tomczyk, RN, PhD
2
Overview
  • Refugee/IDP definitions
  • Human Rights/Legal and Policy Framework
  • Demographics
  • International agencies working with refugees
  • Health issues
  • Case studies
  • Question and Answer period

3
Persons of concern - UNHCR
  • Refugees
  • Internally displaced persons (IDPs)
  • Asylum seekers
  • Returned refugees
  • Stateless persons

4
Human Rights/Legal and Policy Framework
  • 1951 Refugee Convention defined a refugee as a
    person who
  • owing to a well-founded fear of being
    persecuted for reasons of race, religion,
    nationality, membership in a particular social
    group, or political opinion, is outside the
    country of his nationality, and is unable to or,
    owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself
    of the protection of that country.

5
Human Rights/Legal and Policy Framework
  • 1967 Protocol
  • applied the same definition but removed the date
    January 1, 1951 and geographic restrictions.
  • Entered into force 4 October 1967

6
Human Rights/Legal and Policy Framework
  • International instruments impose legal
    obligations on states parties to protect and
    promote the rights of refugees.
  • National law dictates the admission of refugees
    and the types of services they will receive.
  • Domestic laws therefore govern the civil, social,
    and economic rights of refugees.

7
Human Rights/Legal and Policy Framework
  • Both the convention and protocol set forth the
    principle of non-refoulement, and that refugees
    have a right to a fair hearing and expeditious
    processing.
  • Article 33
  • No contracting state shall expel or return
    (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to
    the frontiers of territories where his life or
    freedom would be threatened on account of this
    race, religion, nationality, membership of a
    particular social group or political opinion.

8
Refugee Convention Omissions
  • Gender discrimination and persecution
  • Gender violence
  • Reproductive rights

9
Human Rights Framework for Womens Rights
  • 1976 Declaration on the Protection of Women and
    Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict
  • 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
    of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
    Against Women

10
Internally Displaced PersonDefinition
  • Someone who has not crossed a border but who
    shares many characteristics with refugees.
  • Not protected under international refugee law
    because they remain inside their own country.
  • Vulnerable population as many are attacked by
    their own governments and remain largely
    inaccessible to outside monitors and humanitarian
    assistance.

11
Asylum seekerDefinition
  • A person who flees their own country for fear of
    persecution to seek sanctuary in another state.
  • Right to be recognized as a bona fide refugee and
    receive legal and material assistance.
  • Must prove a well founded fear of persecution
    in their asylum case.

12
Demographics
  • 15 million refugees
  • 20 million IDPs
  • 1 million asylum seekers
  • 17 million people of concern in 2004
  • Causes War, civil strife, famine, natural
    disasters

13
Refugee and IDP Facts
  • Since 2000 the global refugee population has
    decreased by 10
  • Number of persons of concern has remained
    relatively stable in the last 20 years
  • About 50 are women and children
  • About 25 are women of reproductive age

14
Refugee, IDPs, Asylum SeekersUNHCR Demographics
  • Asia 6.2 million
  • Africa 4.3 million
  • Europe 4.2 million
  • Latin America 1.3 million
  • North America 1.0 million

15
Major Refugee Populations
  • Afghanistan 2,100,000
  • Sudan 606,000
  • Burundi 530,000
  • DR Congo 450,000
  • Palestinians 420,000
  • Somalia 400,000
  • Iraq 368,000

16
RefugeesBurden
  • Ratio of Refugee Population to Total Population
  • Pakistan 172
  • Tanzania 173
  • Japan 119,859

17
Major IDP PopulationsThe no less vulnerable
  • Sudan Unknown
  • Colombia 1,244,000
  • Azerbijian 575,000
  • Liberia 530,000
  • Sri Lanka 386,000
  • Russian Federation 368,000
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina 327,000

18
Asylum Seeker PopulationCountry of origin
  • Russian Federation
  • China
  • Serbia/Montenegro
  • DR Congo
  • Turkey
  • Iraq
  • Columbia
  • Afghanistan
  • Nigeria
  • Somalia

19
Asylum Seeker PopulationsCountry of asylum
  • United Kingdom 61,000
  • United States 60,000
  • France 60,000
  • Germany 50,000
  • Austria 32,000
  • Canada 32,000
  • Sweden 31,000

20
International Response Key Players
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • World Health Organization
  • World Food Program

21
International Response Key Players II
  • Ministry of Health
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
  • Religious groups
  • Refugees themselves

22
Adverse Health Effects of Refugee/IDP status
  • Infectious disease
  • Reproductive Health
  • Mental illness
  • Non-infectious disease
  • Violence

23
For every 1 violent death in DR Congo War Zone
there are
  • 17 deaths from fever/malaria
  • 10 deaths from measles, tuberculosis, meningitis
  • 11 deaths from respiratory diseases
  • 6 deaths from malnutrition
  • 18 deaths from other causes/accidents
  • International Rescue Committee, quoted in New
    York Times, March 20, 2005

24
UN High Commissioner for RefugeesUNHCR
  • Working in 116 countries
  • Staff of 6,000 (83 in the field)
  • Budget of 1.3 billion
  • 565 implementing partner NGOs
  • Serves 17 million persons of concern

25
Health Intervention Areas in Complex Humanitarian
Emergencies
  • Epidemiology/Surveillance
  • Mental Health
  • Injuries
  • Nutrition
  • Reproductive Health
  • Immunizations
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Health Information and GIS

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