A Refugee Sensitive Framework for the Horn of Africa for Africa Peace Forum (APFO) and IDRC
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The research problem is situated in the realization that, whereas there is a large number of refugees and IDPs in the Horn of Africa, the framework for their security among humanitarian bodies, agencies and governments focuses on physical protection rather than on ensuring human security. This research thus focuses on examining avenues for having in place a refugee security framework that prioritizes human security of refugees through fundamentally addressing their basic human needs and fears. The conceptual framework of this research is situated in the relatively new yet widely used concept of ‘human security’ that serves to describe the complex of interrelated threats associated with civil war, genocide, and the displacement of populations, among others. Important to note is the distinction between human security and physical security. While physical security focuses on the defense of individuals and communities from external attack, human security is about protecting individuals and communities from any form of violence. While all proponents of human security agree that its primary goal is the protection of individuals, consensus breaks down over what threats individuals should be protected from. Proponents of the ‘narrow’ concept of human security focus on violent threats to individuals, while recognizing that these threats are strongly associated with poverty, lack of state capacity and various forms of socio-economic and political inequity. Proponents of the ‘broad’ concept of human security argue that the threat agenda should be broadened to include hunger, disease, and natural disasters because these kill far more people than war, genocide, and terrorism combined. This is where the proposed security framework finds its ground. In the Horn of Africa, the refugee problem has been recurrent dating back to the early 1990s when serious armed conflicts began to erupt in the various nations of the Horn. Since then, the political situation has remained volatile and countries in the region continue to experience both domestic crises and external pressures.