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CAUSES AND EFFECT OF REFUGEE IN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT

CASE STUDY OF CHAD


ORIGIN AND SCOPE
Nineteen ninety nine marks the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Organisation of
African Unitys (OAU) 1969 Convention Governing Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in
Africa. This Convention was an explicit recognition by African states of the nature and scope of
modern refugee movements in Africa. The Convention marked a departure from the then
internationally accepted standards for the extension of state protection to persons forcibly
displaced across international boundaries. At the time the 1951 UN Convention (and its 1967
Protocol) recognised persons as refugees [who had suffered what was primarily individualized
persecution for reasons of political opinion, religion, race or analogous reasons].
The OAU, by expanding this definition to persons forced to cross national boundaries because of
external aggression, occupation, foreign domination and events seriously disturbing public order
in either part or the whole of their countries of origin or nationality, was signaling a recognition
of the nature and scope of modern refugee movements on the continent. It was also indicating
willingness on the part of post independent states to take responsibility for the protection of
persons forcibly displaced under these circumstances.
Many have described the period in which the Convention was passed as that of the open door
policy of African states. This lasted from the early 1960s to the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The past decade has seen significant changes in the loci of refugee movements in central and
southern Africa. Following decolonisation, the central African states of Rwanda and Burundi
witnessed political conflicts in the 1960s and 1970s, which generated hundreds of thousands of
refugees.

For the most part these refugees received meaningful asylum in neighbouring countries. As
recently as a decade ago countries such as South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and even Namibia
remained primary source countries for refugees. Several million Mozambicans, fleeing a civil
war that devastated their country, were hosted by virtually every neighbouring country.
Malawi alone hosted over a million Mozambican refugees at one stage, notwithstanding a
national population estimated at a little over 8 million. South Africans found refuge not only in
immediate neighbouring countries, but also in African states, which included Tanzania,
Zimbabwe, Zambia and others further afield. Many South Africans who had sought initial
asylum in nearer countries such as Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland were eventually relocated
to and welcomed in countries further afield following intense military and economic pressure
exerted on neighbouring, hosting countries by the South African state. Common to all the South
African conflicts that have caused largescale forced migration was the involvement of colonial or
racist governments.
CAUSES OF REFUGEE IN CHAD
The conflict started in 2003 against the Arabdominated Sudanese government, with two rebel
groups. In response, the government mounted a campaign of aerial bombardments of rebel
positions in the mountains. It was devastating. But the army ground deployment was humiliated
by rebels. Army defeat made the government change its strategy. They provided money and
assistance to an Arab militia, the Janjanweed. In spring 2004, Janjanweed killed several thousand
people and a million more were driven from their homes. The Sudanese government always
publicly denied its supports the Janjaweed. The final numbers on the killings are still disputed,
the sudanese government saying 10 000 killed, UN saying 300 000 and various NGOs saying
almost 500 000.

The Darfur crisis is now 11 years old. The conflict is complex, caused by a host of political,
social, economic and environmental problems. Violence in Darfur spread over the border to Chad
and the Central African Republic. The result is a humanitarian disaster. The indictment of
President Bashir by the International Criminal Court added another element of complexity. Even
if a peace agreement was signed in february 2010 between Chad and Sudan, it remains to be seen
if the situation will locally really improve.
The spill-over of the conflict in Darfur, the growth of armed groups in opposition with the
Chadian government, have plunged Chad into an acute crisis. Chad had for more than 30 years a
culture of violence as a way to political power. All successive presidents (including the actual
prsident Idriss Deby Itno) were at one time rebel leaders. And most of the rebel groups come
from the predominently nomadic northern and eastern parts of the country.
In 2005, several Chadian armed opposition groups were created, encouraged by the change of
constitution allowing Chadian president Idriss Dby to run for a third term. Rebel groups formed
the United Front for Democracy and Change (FUCD) based in eastern Chad, near Sudan border.
First attacks begun in December 2005 in Adr (Chadian border control post). In January 2006,
rebel forces reached N'Djamena, but they failed to take the capital by force. The last attack in
N'Djamena occurred in February 2008 and 30'000 Chadian refugees left to Cameroon. Chadian
government accused Sudan to "arm, finance and equip Chadian rebels on its territory to
destabilise Chad." In the other hand, U.N. expert reported in 2006 that Sudanese rebels were
getting "financial, political and other material support from neighbouring countries including
Libya, Chad and Eritrea". For one year from 2008 to 2009, the European Union deployed a
EUFOR military force led by France. These troops left in spring of 2009 and were replaced by
UN troops (under the MINURCAT mandate).

This UN force is largely inefficient and President Deby pushes strongly for UN to leave the area.
Simulaneously, President Bashir pushes for the departure of the forces deployed in Darfur in
joint UN / African Union mission (UNAMID). Chad and Sudan ceased diplomatic relations after
the february 2008 fightings and renewed contacts only at the beginning of November 2008.
Early in 2010, both countries (Chad and Sudan) were pushed to sign a peace agreement. For
Sudan, the 2011 agenda (with a referendum on South Darfur autonomy) and President Bechir
international situation brings reasons for a peaceful solution in West Darfur. For Chad, President
Deby's situation (with presidential elections coming in 2011 and a lot of local internal feuds) also
leads to a quieter environment. With ongoing conflict and violence in several neighbouring
countries, notably the Central African Republic (CAR), Nigeria and South Sudan, Chad's refugee
population is likely to increase in 2015. On 31 July, more than 1,000 Nigerian asylum-seekers
arrived on the island of Choua in the Lake Chad region, some 4 kilometres from the border
crossing. Chad was already hosting more than 1,500 Nigerian refugees (488 families). A
supplementary appeal was launched to cover the cost of responding to these new emergency
needs. Given the unpredictability of incidents and violence in Nigeria, UNHCR is planning for
further influxes in 2015.

Forecast of Refugee on Chad 2015

EFFECT OF REFUGEE IN CHAD

Diversion of domestic and international funds


Increase in market size and money supply
Attraction of international assistance
Exploitation of environmental resources
Social relations, culture, national politics, international relations and security situation
Associated principle governing the refugee regime: burden sharing

Economies are diverse; therefore, the effects of refugees can vary considerably from region to
region, and, even from country to country. Although the development process depends on a
complex of socio-economic variables (population, resources, infrastructure, capital formation,
trade, political stability, skill level, work ethic, etc.), it is expected that the effects of refugees on
a countrys economy will partly be determined by its stage and rate of economic development.
Social Impacts
The refugee presence in hosting countries has potential social impacts on the ethnic balance of
hosting areas, social conflict, and delivery of social services. The socio-cultural impact of
refugees on the host community may occur simply because of their presence. Thus, if traditional
animosities exist between cultural or ethnic groups, it may cause problems when one group
becomes exposed to another that has been forced to become refugees. For example, in the late
1990s the mere presence of Kosovo-Albanian refugees in Macedonia generated tensions between
ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Macedonia (Pini, 2008). However, UNHCR has also found that
when refugees are from the same cultural and linguistic group as the local population, there are
greater opportunities for peaceful co-existence and interaction among them (UNHCR, 2007).
For instance, approximately 25,000 refugees from the Central African Republic were in the
Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1990s. Like their Congolese hosts, the refugees

belonged to the Yakoma ethnic group, so their integration into the host society was smooth and
peaceful. Similarly, 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, mostly ethnic Pashtun resided for
more than a decade among fellow Pashtun communities in the North-West Frontier Province
(NWFP). During the entire period, relations between refugees and the host population were
largely peaceful. The same has been the case with the massive influx of Somali refugees into the
Dadaab area in Kenya, which is inhabited by people sharing the same culture and language, and
which are often related by clan or tribal ties to the refugee population. In refugee-affected and
hosting areas, there may be inequalities between refugees and non-refugees that give rise to
social tension (Betts, 2009). Refugees are frequently viewed as benefitting from privileged
access to resources unavailable to the local host population. In this regard, refugee status offers
an opportunity for education, literacy, vocational training, health, sanitation, and basic
livelihood. However, when social services provided through international funding also target
host communities, the likelihood that the local population will have a positive view of refugees
increases significantly. 12 Thus, the Special Program for Refugee Affected Areas (SPRRA) in
Tanzania (1997-2003) benefited host communities by promoting farming activities, road
construction, and income-generating activities in surrounding areas. A similar approach is
currently being developed by the Government of Lebanon in order to address the protracted
situation of Palestinian refugees. In response to the destruction caused to the Nahr-el Bared
refugee camp in 2007 by high intensity fighting between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the
Palestinian Fatah-al-Islam group, the Government of Lebanon is developing a comprehensive
new approach to address the protracted situation of Palestinian refugees in the Nahr-el Bared
camp, which seeks to turn the crisis into an opportunity. This approach aims to link relief,
recovery, and reconstruction activities through local development in the Nahr-el Bared camp, as

well as in the adjacent and surrounding areas (El-Amaout, 2010). Another observation related to
the social impacts of forced displacement is that social problems such as gender-based
dominance and/or violence often increase during conflict and in displaced settings. This is
particularly the case with regard to womens vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation,
domestic violence and trafficking. For example, UN data shows that during the first three months
of 2010, more than a third of the 1,200 sexual assaults against women in the Democratic
Republic of Congo took place in the North and South Kivu provinces. This region is not only the
epicenter of constant violence between rebel groups and the military, but also hosts a
considerable proportion of IDPs and refugees from neighboring countries (UNHCR, 2010).
Issues of gender-based violence have also been examined in the context of livelihood
opportunities in situations of displacement. Some studies show that gender relations within
households are affected by the increasing participation of women in income-generating activities,
which affects not only the distribution of resources within households, but also traditional roles
of family structures (Womens Refugee Commission, 2009).
Environmental Impacts
The presence of large influxes of refugees has also been associated with environmental impacts
on land, water, natural resources, and slum growth. Various studies provide examples of different
types of environmental impacts related to the influx of refugees and their long-term presence
(Jacobsen 1997, UNHCR 1998, FAO 2005). The initial arrival phase of refugee influxes may be
accompanied by severe environmental impacts when displaced people often move into and
through an area to secure their immediate needs (UNHCR/FAO 1994). Some of these immediate
effects include fuel wood crises and water pollution in refugee camp areas. As the emergency
period passes and refugees become settled, the nature of the environmental impact changes, but

can still be significant. A recent environmental assessment conducted in Sudan highlights that the
massive presence of refugees is related to serious environmental damage in hosting areas.
Environmental impacts are closely associated with the type of refugee settlements and
particularly the concentration of people in large camps. The most evident environmental impacts
include:
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)

Deforestation and firewood depletion,


Land degradation,
Unsustainable groundwater extraction, and
Water pollution. In addition, human waste disposal by displaced persons can contaminate
local groundwater and cause the spread of diseases (United Nations Environment
Program, 2005).

Other impacts from the initial and long-term displacement are related to uncontrolled slum
growth. Another observation is that the type of refugee settlements also affects the access of
displaced people to land and natural resources. The assessment of the environmental impacts of
refugees in Daadab, Kenya also shows that environmental degradation is a direct consequence
of policies aimed at housing refugees in large camps with tight movement restrictions in an area
of low productivity (Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology, 2010). Moreover, large
camps tend to slow the development of land use practices that are both sustainable and
compatible with local practices (Jacobsen, 1997). Such environmental impacts can also affect
the long-term livelihood opportunities of both refugees and the host population.

REFERENCES
Organisation of African Unitys (OAU) 1969 Convention Governing Specific Aspects of
Refugee Problems in Africa.

United Front for Democracy and Change (FUCD) based in eastern Chad, near Sudan border.
UNHCR 2015: United Nation Haman Commission for Refugee
Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology, 2010