The Migrants’ Rights Unit is a thematically specialised unit of the Centre for Human Rights which conducts research, training, advocacy and monitoring in the area of migrants’ rights in Africa. It works to promote the human rights of migrants, and positively impact decision-making on issues that have a bearing on forcibly displaced persons and other migrants in the African region. The main activities of the Unit are the following:
The Unit is mandated to conduct research in areas of critical importance for the protection of the rights of migrants, including refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stateless persons. It aims to produce and facilitate the production of research outputs that have practical significance to address the challenges encountered by these groups of persons.
The Unit organises workshops, seminars, and short courses on forced migration in Africa. It strives to bring about change by training key stakeholders, including policymakers, refugee law judges, practitioners, media personnel and human rights activists.
The Unit also contributes to the Centre’s academic programmes in various ways, particularly through the Migrants’ Rights Clinic. Selected students pursuing their master’s degree in the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme are assigned to gain practical skills in migrants’ rights advocacy and researching and documenting the situation of the rights of migrants in Africa.
The Unit advocates for the protection and promotion of the rights of migrants in Africa. This includes the Unit’s advocacy for the increased ratification of displacement-specific treaties by African states. Since January 2022, the Unit has been advocating for the ratification of the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention).
As one of its areas of work, the Unit coordinates the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement (GENIDA). GENIDA is an international collaboration for the furtherance of the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa which responds to the paucity of research on internal displacement in Africa.