"As will be seen, the OAU Refugee Convention contains many provisions which, if not properly construed, might lead to a great curtailment of refugees' political rights. Yet the right to participate in the government of one's country is guaranteed by a number of international human rights isntruments. In any case, when people are forced to leave their country of origin, it is simply natural for them to seek the means whereby they could go back to their country of origin. ... Besides, not only voluntary repatriation is generally regarded as the most desirable solution to the refugee problem, but also it has been observed that a successful return is dependent upon the political conditions in the country of origin. It will be argued that refugees should be allowed and assisted to play a proactive role in order to create a political environment propitious to their return. ... The first chapter is a presentation of the study, its background, the research questions, the literature review, the methodology and the limitations to the study. The second chapter deals with the problems related to the refugee status and international protection. It is a presentation of the big picture of international refugee protection, with a focus on Africa. From an African point of view, it looks at the definition of the term refugee, the refugee status and the available protection mechanisms. The third chapter discusses the traditional durable solutions to the refugee problem, as well as the new approaches in refugee protection. It discusses the availablility, effectiveness and shortcomings of traditional solutions, and highlights repatriation as the most suitable solution to the refugee problem. The fourth chapter is a reflection on the right to repatriation and the extent to which political participation of refugees can be used to realise that right. This chapter examines the legal foundation of the right to return, the significance of political participation to that right, highlights the major obstacles to political participation of refugees, and puts forward ideas that might serve as guidelines for enhanced participation of refugees in the political life of their country of origin. The last chapter is a summary presentation of the conclusions and recommendations drawn from this study." -- Introduction.
Prepared under the supervision of Prof. T.P. van Reenen at the Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2006.