Forced migration continues to be a serious, protracted, and in some areas, an expanding problem across Africa, particularly south of the Sahara. With over 13 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 19 countries, Africa remained the continent by far most affected by internal displacement in 2004. Over 50 percent of the world’s IDPs live in Africa. In Sudan alone, up to 6 million people are thought to be internally displaced, more than in any other country in the world. Sudan is also the country with the largest amount of people newly displaced in 2004 (about 1 million, mostly in Darfur). Other large-scale displacement crises in Africa included the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with 2.3 million IDPs and Uganda with up to 2 million IDPs.
There are estimated to be some 3.25 million African refugees and asylum seekers. The vast majority of these reside in other African countries. Very few leave their region of origin. Protracted refugee situations (people living in refugee camps or settlements for more than five years) continue to be a particular problem in the continent. They include: 280,000 Eritreans in Sudan; 300,000 Angolans in Zambia, Congo-Kinshasa and Namibia; 165,000 Sahrawi in Algeria; 270,000 Somalis in Kenya, Yemen, Djibouti and Ethiopia; 330,000 Burundians Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Rwanda; 330,000 Liberians across West Africa; and 475,000 Sudanese in various countries.
Africa also accounted for the world’s highest number of return movements during 2004. In the DRC, more than 1 million IDPs were able to return home. Following the end of civil war in Angola in 2002, some 900,000 more people returned home during 2004. Return movements have also been occurring in Sudan and West Africa (World Refugee Survey 2004, Global IDP Project).
- Amnesty International, ‘African Union: a new opportunity for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa’ (June 2002).
- Bakwesegha, Martha, ‘African Union: from unity to union’, Conflict Trends, no. 2/2001.
- Crisp, Jeff, ‘No solutions in sight: the problem of protracted refugee situations in Africa”, New Issues in Refugee Research, no. 75 (January 2003). (PDF file 523 KB)
- Human Rights Watch, Darfur destroyed: ethnic cleansing by government and militia forces in western Sudan (May 2004).
- International Crisis Group, CrisisWatch, no. 9 (May 2004). (PDF file 712 KB)
- UNHCR, 2004, Voluntary repatriation in Africa: levels and trends 1993-2002 (2004). (PDF file 72.4 KB)
- ‘Africa at a crossroads’, Refugees Magazine, no. 131 (June 2003)
- ‘African displacement: roots, resources, and resolution’, Forced Migration Review, no. 16 (January 2003)
- ‘Internal displacement in Africa’, Global IDP Project (2003)
- ’Regional Summaries: Africa; World Refugee Survey (2004)
- Bermúdez Torres, Anastasia. ‘FMO Reearch Guide: Gender and Forced Migration’, (October 2002)
- Dick, Shelly. ‘FMO Research Guide: Liberia’, (June 2003)
- Eyber, Carola. ‘FMO Research Guide: Psychosocial issues’, (October 2002)
- Griffiths, David. ‘FMO Research Guide: Somalia’, (July 2003)
- Hart, Jason. ‘FMO Research Guide: Children and adolescents’, (October 2002)
- Landau, Loren B. ‘FMO Research Guide: Urban Refugees’, (February 2004)
- MacDonald, Kelly. ‘FMO Research Guide: Reproductive Health’, (July 2004)
- Murison, Jude. ‘FMO Research Guide: Rwanda’, (January 2003)
- Schmidt, Anna. ‘FMO Research Guide: Camps versus settlements’, (September 2003)
- Roberts, Bayard. ‘FMO Research Guide: Forced Migration and Public Health’, (July 2004)
- Roberts, Bayard. ‘FMO Research Guide: HIV/AIDS, Conflict and Forced Migration’, (November 2004)
Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the Digital Library)
- Bakwesegha, Chris J. 1994. ‘Conflict situations in Africa in the context of the OAU mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution.’
- Borton, John and Edward Clay. 1986. ‘The African food crisis of 1982–1986.’ Disasters 10(4): 258-272.
- Bradbury, Mark. 1998. ‘Normalising the crisis in Africa.’ Disasters 22(4): 328-338.
- Crisp, Jeff and Erin Mooney. 1999. ‘Report on the workshop on internal displacement in Africa, Addis Ababa, October 19-20, 1998.’ International Migration Review 33(2): 468-483.
- Gasarasi, Charles P. 1991. ‘Durable solutions to the refugee problem in Africa: an elusive subject.’
- Ibeanu, O. Okechukwu. 1995. ‘Reflections on refugees, humanitarian assistance and peace-building in Africa.’
- Jamal, Arafat. 2003. ‘Camps and freedoms: long-term refugee situations in Africa.’ Forced Migration Review 16: 4-6.
- Macrae, Joanna and Anthony B. Zwi. 1992. ‘Food as an instrument of war in contemporary African famines: a review of the evidence.’ Disasters 16(4): 299-321.
- Refugee Studies Programme. 1996. ‘Refugees and other forcibly displaced people in Africa: a background paper [for] the IFRC's Pan-African Conference.’
- Refugee Studies Programme. 1986. ‘Implementation of the OAU / UN Conventions and domestic legislation concerning the rights and obligations of refugees in Africa: final report of seminar.’
- Rogge, John R. and Akol, Joshua O. 1989. ‘Repatriation: Its role in resolving Africa’s refugee dilemma.’ International Migration Review 23(86): 184-200.
Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)
- Africa Renewal online (UN)
- Conflict trends (ACCORD)
- CrisisWatch (International Crisis Group)
- FEWS NET: Famine early warning systems network (USAID)
- Latest news from IRIN Africa (IRIN) (in English and French)
- Pambazuka news: an information service for social justice in Africa (Fahamu)
- PeaceAfrica: supporting Africa's peacebuilders (AllAfrica.com)
Resources from forced migration organizations in Africa
- Center for Migration and Refugee Studies [previously known as the Forced Migration & Refugee Studies program (FMRS)] (The American University in Cairo)
- Forced migration studies programme (University of the Witwatersrand)
- Rural Research programme (University of the Witwatersrand)
- Refugee rights project (Lawyers for Human Rights)
- Working paper series (Makerere University, Refugee Law Project)
Legal and policy resources
- African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, Human Dimension Program)
- African governments on the Internet (Economic Commission for Africa)
- African human rights instruments (University of Minnesota, Human Rights Resource Center)
- Legal Instruments (African Commission on Human & Peoples' Rights)
- Official documents (African Union)
- Africa collection for transition: from relief to development (Payson Center for International Development and Technology Transfer)
- African journals online (INASP) (Also in French)
- African studies internet resources (Columbia University)
- A guide to Africa on the Internet (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet)
- Réseau documentaire international sur la région des Grands Lacs Africains (Réseau Grands Lacs Africains) (in French and English)
- Quarterly index of African periodical literature (Library of Congress Office, Nairobi)
Contact details for organizations based in Africa (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)
- Africa 70
- Africa Now
- African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies
- African Centre for Gender and Development (ACGD)
- African Commission on Human and People's Rights
- African Development Bank
- African Refugee Women's Access to Education and Training Project, Africa Educational Trust
- African Union
- Alliances for Africa (AfA)
- Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR)
- Centre for Policy Studies
- Centre for Southern African Studies (CSAS)
- Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), Makerere University
- Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa
- Justice Africa
- Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), United Nations
- Southern African Migration Project (SAMP)
- Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)
- Support for Analysis and Research in Africa (SARA)
- United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
- Women in Law & Development in Africa (WILDAF)