Issue 13 -- December 2000

A Newsletter of the Ecumenical Network of churches in solidarity with people compelled by severe political, economic and social conditions to leave their land and cultures.

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Global consultations

International News

GEN Meeting

Network News

News in Brief


Upcoming Events

How to contact WCC International Relations Staff

Uprooted people are those who are forced to leave their communities: those who flee because of persecution and war, those who are forcibly displaced because of environmental devastation and those who are compelled to seek sustenance in a city or abroad because they cannot survive at home... World Council of Churches policy statement, 1995.
Global consultations on refugee protection

UNHCR’s Consultations on Global Protection were endorsed by the UNHCR Executive Committee meeting in October. Erika Feller, Director of the Department of International Protection, explained the objectives of the consultations as:

  • Re-affirming the full and effective implementation of the 1951 Convention by the States Parties on the occasion of its 50th anniversary
  • Stock-taking of the law to see how the Convention is being understood and applied today, and
  • Moving "the international community towards practical, cooperative efforts to deal with new or emerging problems" not covered by the Convention.

    During the year-long consultation process, each of these three objectives or "circles" will be considered in depth. The first circle - reaffirmation of the Convention - is expected to culminate in a major inter-governmental event to be held in December 2001. The second circle - the interpretative questions - will consist of a series of expert roundtables on specific issues, to be carried out between the (northern) spring and fall of 2001. These issues include: cessation, exclusion, family reunification, membership of a particular social group, gender-related persecution, illegal entry (art. 31), and the supervisory mechanism (art. 35). The third circle - the so-called gaps in refugee protection -is expected to address four specific problem areas: protection to refugees in mass influx situations, protection for refugees arriving as individuals, protection challenges arising from the asylum/migration nexus and the need for durable, protection-based solutions. The first formal meeting of the Consultations for governments, with NGOs as observers will be held on 12 December. It is expected that this meeting will lay out a timetable and concrete plans for the Global Consultations.

  • International News

    Ruud Lubbers, former prime minister of the Netherlands, has been appointed as the next UN High Commissioner for Refugees. A right-of-center Christian Democrat, Mr. Lubbers is the Netherlands’ longest-serving premier (1982-94) in the post-war period. In recent years, he has served as head of the World Wildlife Fund and taught a course on globalization at Harvard University. He is an economist by training. He will take up his position in early January 2001.

    This year UNHCR has announced that four people will receive the Nansen Medal, all former exiles who have helped the refugee cause in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The awardees include His Holiness Abune Paulos, the Orthodox Patriarch of Ethiopia, Dr. Lao Mong Hay, a leading Cambodian intellectual and pro-democracy activist, Jelena Silajdzic, a Bosnian film producer and refugee advocate, and Miguel Angel Estrella, Argentine virtuoso pianist. The Nansen medal Award was launched in 1955 by UNHCR’s first High Commissioner and is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the first League of Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    A resolution by the UN General Assembly Third Committee adopts 18 December as International Migrants Day. While the resolution still must be adopted by the General Assembly, it is unlikely that substantive changes will be made. The initiative for this designation emerged three years ago among Asian migrant organizations who began to formally celebrate December 18 as International Day of Solidarity with Migrants in 1997. 18 December, 1990 was the date on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families.

    The Inter-Agency Standing Committee has recently created a Senior Inter-Agency Network on Internal Displacement to carry out reviews of selected countries with internally displaced populations, and to make proposals for an improved inter-agency response to their needs. Dennis McNamara has been appointed as special coordinator of this network. Country reviews are planned for Angola, Burundi, Colombia, and Indonesia in addition to the mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea which took place in October. The International Council on Voluntary Agencies has created an NGO IDP Reference Group to provide an informal forum for NGOs to discuss their role and involvement in the work of the Senior Network, including assisting in the selection of NGO representatives for the Network’s missions.

    The GEN Meeting

    WCC’s Global Ecumenical Network (GEN) for Uprooted People, which brings together representatives of regional working groups on uprooted people, met in Geneva from 24-26 September. The GEN meeting identified two priority issues for common global advocacy for the coming year as: mobilizing churches to become more effective advocates for uprooted people and trafficking of people. The network also expressed concern about UNHCR funding shortfalls, budget cuts and reduction of regional offices and staff which often affect the most vulnerable, such as refugee children, and place a heavier burden on NGOs, including churches; encouraged WCC’s work on racism and xenophobia, both in preparation for the UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and in a WCC ecumenical study on racism; called for further reflection on the relationship between globalization and migration; and called for intensified support for peace and conflict-resolution as fundamental to addressing the causes which uproot people. The report of the meeting, including background papers on globalization and migration and on racism and xenophobia are available from Amelia Monteiro (

    WCC will convene a Founding Meeting of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (7-9 December) which seeks to create a new, more inclusive instrument for advocacy on global issues by churches and their related organizations. The meeting will include representatives of WCC, regional ecumenical organizations, church-related agencies and specialized networks, Christian World Communions and international ecumenical organizations, and Roman Catholic organizations. The Founding Meeting is expected to launch the new Alliance, to identify two global issues for concerted advocacy over the next 3 years, and to name an Ecumenical Advocacy Committee to oversee the process. An Ecumenical Advocacy Office will be set up in Geneva in early 2001; Linda Hartke, presently Director of Programs for Church World Service-USA, will serve as coordinator of this office.

    Network News

    WCC is delighted to announce the appointment of Guillermo Kerber to the staff of its International Relations team with special responsibility for impunity/reconciliation and for Latin America. Guillermo currently serves as director of the Servicio Ecuménico para la Dignidad Humana, professor of ethical philosophy at the Universidad de la Republic and professor of philosophical anthropology and ethics at the Universidad Catolica del Uruguay, and is president of the International Affairs Committee of Caritas Internationalis. Guillermo’s ecumenical expertise and experience in dealing with refugee and returnee issues in Latin America will be a strong addition to the Council’s work in this area.

    The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, at its September meeting, adopted a statement on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Creation of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The statement focuses on the importance of UNHCR in protecting refugees and urges governments to uphold refugee protection. The statement also calls upon churches to use the occasion of the 50th anniversary to raise awareness about the situation of uprooted people.

    The World Council of Churches and the International Catholic Migration Commission have jointly called on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants to investigate the many reports of serious abuse of migrant workers in the countries of the Persian Gulf. The letter states that the "many reports of beating, deaths and suicides of domestic migrant workers make such an investigation by your office necessary". The routine confiscation of passports by employers or sponsors, the lack of adequate judicial recourse when conflicts arise between migrants and employers, and on-going human rights abuses were also cited. (The press release may be viewed on the WCC website) WCC sent a delegation to Guinea from 26-29 October following the disturbing news that uprooted people in Guinea from Liberia and Sierra Leone have been under attack. The team met with church leaders, other NGOs, and political leaders. Guinea, a country of 7 million people, has hosted 800,000 uprooted people for over 10 years. Military incursions from rebels from Sierra Leone and Liberia reached a crescendo in early September 2000 and resulted in the displacement of over 50,000 Guineans. In a public address on 9 September, Guinean president Lasana Conte called on Guineans to rise up and protect their land. Thousands of refugees were detained, attacked, and forced to flee their communities and a UNHCR staff member was killed. Many of the refugees are urgently seeking to leave Guinea. Among the recommendations are a call for WCC to mobilize assistance for the refugees, to organize a regional church meeting to consider these issues and to advocate with UNHCR to ensure that uprooted people are properly registered and issued with identity cards.

    34 church leaders and social workers came together in Thailand from 18-22 September to examine the plight of migrant workers, particularly undocumented workers in Thailand. Their aim was to pursue holistic ministry to bring fullness of life to the suffering migrant workers and their families in the Mekong sub-region. The report of the meeting includes the biblical reflections, presentations on the theme (including trends in the Mekong subregion, causes and consequences of labor migration, NGO responses to migration in Asia, the Thai government’s policy on migrant workers and the churches’ ministry to uprooted people in the Mekong sub-region) and case presentations. The report is available from the Christian Conference of Asia ( The meeting also set up a network among churches in the Great Mekong Region, including Thailand, Myanmar, China (Yunnan), Vietnam, Lao PDR and Cambodia which is publishing The Mekong News as a bi-monthly newsletter. (Available from the Mekong Sub-regional program, 3-6 Chareon Muang Road, 4/F, Amphur Muang, Chiang Mai 50000, Thailand, e-mail:

    The Continental Committee of the AACC/WCC Refugee Programme will meet in Banjul, Gambia from 12-15 December to review African refugee programmes, to discuss possible improvements in structure, and to review and finalize proposals for the coming year. Of particular concern to the Committee is the very difficult financial situation of African ecumenical refugee programmes.

    WCC will convene an Ecumenical Consultation on Justice, Peace and People’s Security in North-east Asia from 26 February-3 March 2001 in Kyoto, Japan to review and assess the emerging trends in North-east Asia, to re-examine and redefine some of the cold war concepts and positions, to develop new notions of security and to examine the relationship between new concepts of security in North-east Asia and global security. In particular the planning committee has emphasized the need to highlight the trend towards re-militarization of the region, the arms race, and US presence and domination in the region.

    The National Seminar on Internally Displaced People in India was held in Bangalore from 22-24 September with 38 participants from different academic organizations, NGOs, churches and other organizations. The seminar included presentations on the role of civil society in displacement, the effects of development-induced displacement, conflict-induced displacement, the political economy of large dam projects, and the rights of internally displaced persons in light of the Guiding Principles. The Seminar adopted a statement highlighting the alarming situation of displacement of large numbers of people as a result of large-scale development initiatives, such as dam construction, urban development and transportation programmes. Official figures from the government indicate that millions of Indians have been displaced from their land, although official figures may underestimate the total number of people affected.

    The Evangelical Academy of Berlin, the Commissioner of non-Germans of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and the Migration Division of the Diakonisches Werk in Berlin-Brandenberg organized a conference on "Living Together in Europe - Approaches to Equal Rights and Self-Determination". The conference examined migration in Europe in the context of the current European policy of anti-discrimination. For further information about the conference, contact Annelies Piening at

    The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program and Episcopal Migration Ministries held a Joint Network Conference in Austirn, TX from 14-18 October. Among the many events was a panel discussion with partners from Africa.

    The Assembly of the Federation of Italian Protestant Churches, meeting in Santa Severa from 29 October-1 November, adopted several resolutions relating to migration. The resolution rejects the idea of "a good apartheid" and affirms the need to reaffirm cultural pluralism and respect for migrants’ rights. The resolution notes the need for awareness-raising among the churches about the situation of migrants and particularly of the risks of selecting migrants on the basis of their religious confession.

    In September 2000, a delegation from the Southern African Churches in Ministry with Uprooted People visited Mauritius to look into the situation of uprooted people in that country, and particularly the Chagos Islanders. The Chagos Archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean about halfway between Mauritius and India and comprises 65 small islands, including the island of Diego Garcia. Although the Chagos Archipelago was grouped with Mauritius for administrative purposes under British colonial rule, when Mauritius became independent, the Chagos islands were kept out of that settlement. Rather, Britain signed an agreement with the US giving the largest of these islands, Diego Garcia to the Pentagon for a 50-year lease for a military base. The 3000 Chagos Islanders were never consulted or informed of these administrative changes. Nor were they informed that once a US military base was established that their presence would no longer be tolerated on any of the 65 islands. The ecumenical delegation met with some of the Chagos Islanders, many of whom have been living in Mauritius for 35 years. The report of the delegation (available from Shirley deWolf ( outlines a number of issues requiring advocacy.

    The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece met on 12 October 2000 to discuss "Greece as a host country for migrants: the role of the Church in dealing with the ethical, religious, social, and pastoral aspects of racism." The statement said that the Greek Church denounces racism and xenophobia and "insists on realizing the meaning of the Bible that every human being, as God’s creature, is entitled to enjoy all the human rights that are recognized on an international level."

    The Executive Committee of the Churches’ Commission on Migrants in Europe (CCME) met in Brussels on 28 October to review developments, set priorities and share information. Reports were heard from the 3 working groups: monitoring European migration policies, church involvement with refugees, migrants and internally displaced people, and anti-racism initiatives. The ExCom also heard reports of various Europe-wide meetings, and discussed the churches’ response to the Ecumenical Charter and the European Charter for Human Rights. A pan- European Roundtable on diaconia, organized by the Conference of European Churches, will be held from 26-29 September 2001 in Jävenpää, Finland. The ExCom agreed to set up a special task force to review the present challenges in the field of migration in Europe (both East and West), overall funding needs and to develop and implement a strategy to increase the level of funding for European ecumenical work with the uprooted. Growing CCME collaboration with ICMC, particularly in the preparation of a document on EU enlargement, was welcomed.

    CCME’s Working Group on Churches’ Involvement with Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons met in Bucharest from 10-12 November. The group heard country reports from participating representatives and, on the basis of those reports, agreed to collect analyses of the churches’ experiences with regularization and to compare the churches’ response to rejected asylum-seekers and other irregular migrants. Specifically the question is ‘what does the church do in principle and in practice with these cases and what are the consequences of these actions/inactions? The working group also named a smaller task force to develop a concrete proposal to develop a network to work on trafficking issues. The group also had a lively discussion with representatives of IOM-Bucharest on the issues of trafficking and IOM’s role in facilitating voluntary repatriation and heard a presentation from the Director of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s Department of Diakonie on the social ministry of the church.

    The Central Committee of the Conference of European Churches adopted a recommendation on migration and asylum policies which urges its member churches "to get actively involved in promoting the formation f just and generous migration, asylum and development policies". The recommendation also calls on them to promote advocacy work and networking and to support CCME activities in this field. Another recommendation calls for actions on Sinti and Roma peoples, including a consultation on the situation of Sinti and Roma people in Central and Eastern Europe.

    The MECC Working Group on Refugees, Displaced and Migrants met in Cairo from 10-14 September. This group advises MECC and WCC on programmatic and advocacy issues and provides a forum for the sharing of information on pressing issues in the region. MECC reported on forthcoming plans, including planned meetings with theological students, for pastors and priests concerning ministry in detention centers and prisons, for detention center guards and a consultation on torture and trauma counseling. The meeting heard regional overviews from representatives of UNHCR and IOM. UNHCR works with some 62,000 Palestinian refugees on an individual basis - who are outside the region of the UNRWA mandate. The group also heard a report on the 12 million migrant workers in the Gulf states. MECC’s work in the Gulf is focused on 1) creating an ecumenical atmosphere, 2) furthering inter-faith efforts, and 3) addressing social issues, particularly migrants, in the region. There are less than 1,000 Arab Christians in the Gulf and almost all of the churches are expatriate churches. Given the venue of the meeting in Cairo, there was considerable concern about the situation of refugees in Egypt and participants were able to visit church work with refugees, primarily African refugees, at St. Andrews Church, Sacred Heart Church and All Saints Cathedral. Although UNHCR recognizes some 7,000 Sudanese in Egypt as refugees and as resettlement programmes have been expanded out of Cairo, the churches reported that many hundreds of thousands of Sudanese in Egypt have unmet needs and wait for over a year for their asylum hearings. The Working Group identified a number of issues for advocacy, including the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, the right of Palestinians to return, and Christian presence in the Middle East.

    News in Brief

    Countries neighboring Colombia, particularly Ecuador and Venezuela, are reporting an increase in the number of Colombians seeking to flee the violence by entering their territories. The controversial Plan Colombia is blamed for the displacement.

    There are more than 700,000 refugees living in Serbia, more than in any other country in Europe and more than the entire population of Montenegro, according to AFP. Few of the 250,000 Serbs who fled Krajina during Croatia’s 1995 offensive have returned, while a similar number were displaced in the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Approximately half of the 200,000 pre-war Serb population in Kosovo have not returned to the homes they fled in June 1999. (Refugees Daily, 25.10.2000)

    Amnesty International reports serious abuses in the interrogation and deportation of people who are denied entry to Japan. Those denied entry are sent to a detention centre at Narita International Airport called a Landing Prevention Facility. This facility was established and funded by the immigration authorities but is operated by private security countries. Staff of these private security companies have been allegedly routinely torturing and ill-treating those detained in the facility. Amnesty calls on Japanese immigration authorities to establish an

    Intensified fighting in Burundi has led to an increase in Burundian refugees arriving in Tanzania. Karago camp in the Kigoma region is the only camp open to receive new arrivals from Burundi and currently holds 43,000 refugees; it is rapidly approaching its maximum capacity of 50,000. Moreover, there is a serious water shortage in the camp, and while food rations are up slightly, there are still many complaints by refugees about insufficient food. According to UNHCR statistics, there were 40,346 new arrivals from Burundi in Kibondo district from January-October. (JRS Dispatches, no. 80)

    In the USA, President Clinton signed the determination on refugee admissions, allowing for the admission of 80,000 refugees during FY2001 (including 20,000 from Africa, 20,000 from Eastern Europe and 17,000 from the Former Soviet Union.) While President Clinton had proposed $658 million and Congress had proposed $615 million for Migration and Refugee Assistance, the mobilization of churches and NGOs led to the restoration of this amount to $700 million. This programme funds US contributions to UNHCR and ICRC, as well as ther resettlement of refugees in the USA. The "Refugees in Crisis" campaign came to several US cities and churches in the CWS/IRP network mobilized thousands of letters to their congressional representatives.

    The Home Secretary of the United Kingdom has issued a discussion paper elaborating on proposals made by Jack Straw, Home Secretary. The paper suggests: categorisation of countries and groups of origin into high risk, intermediate and safe; an EU resettlement programme for people from high risk countries and groups; asylum applications lodged overseas; and action to encourage protection in regions of origin.

    Liberian refugees are returning to Liberia from Guinea, fleeing xenophobic violence initiated by Guinean President Lansana Conte. This violence was responsible for the September death of one UNHCR staff member in Guinea and led to the suspension of UNHCR presence in parts of the country. Meanwhile violence in northern Liberia has fuelled the internal displacement of thousands of people as attacks in Lofa county spread south in mid-October. An assessment mission to Salayea district on 12 October concluded that about 52,000 people are in need of food and non-food items. The mission reported that only one clinic is operating in the area and it has no drugs. The number of latrines is not sufficient for the increased population and many internally displaced people are sleeping in schools, clinics and markets. (JRS Dispatches, no. 80)

    In mid-November, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry announced that it had ordered the closure of entry points along the country’s western border with Afghanistan. Pakistan claimed an inability to absorb the approximately 30,000 refugees who have arrived during the past two months and the thousands more who were expected to seek refuge in the coming weeks. The government of Tajikistan similarly sealed its border in mid-September. Many of those displaced in the recent fighting in Afghanistan report that they fear the recurrence of human rights abuses. Moreover, the worst drought in Afghanistan’s recent history has increased pressure on people to leave. Pakistan currently hosts 1.2 million refugees - many of whom have lived in Pakistan since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. International assistance and attention for the Afghan refugee crisis has diminished over recent years and both Iran, which hosts the largest Afghan refugee population in the world, and Pakistan, have decried the chronic lack of international attention and funding. (For more information see Human Rights Watch,

    In Switzerland, voters rejected a referendum which wold have limited the foreign-born to 18 percent of the population (they currently make up about 19.3 percent.) Although the referendum was defeated, almost 40% of the voters supported setting such a limit.

    Indonesia has rejected an Australian proposal to use an island in its archipelago for an Australian-funded processing center for illegal immigrants. Australia maintains that Indonesia has increasingly been used by people from the Asian mainland and the Middle East as a stepping stone to Australia. Indonesia previously hosted a refugee processing center in Galang in the Riau islands, south of Singapore, to accommodate boat people from Indochina. The camp was closed down in the early 1990s. "We already have a lot of problems in the country, why should we add more problems?... why doesn’t Australia use one of their own islands?" said Justice and Human Rights Minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra. (Center for Immigration Studies News, 25.10.2000)

    The Romanian government introduced a new law on the status of refugees on 2 November which provides three levels of protection: refugee status under the Geneva Convention, conditional humanitarian protection (for those who don’t qualify for refugee status but cannot return to their country of origin) and "temporary humanitarian protection" which applies to persons coming from areas of armed conflicts where Romania isn’t a party to the conflict. The new law, harmonized with EU policies, includes recommendations on manifestly unfounded asylum applications, accelerated procedures, the concept of safe country of origin and safe third countries.

    Humanitarian workers are concerned about the situation of Chechen refugees and internally displaced people as winter temperatures drop and many refugees remain in tents which were temporarily installed last year. There is no gas supply while temperatures fall to 3 degrees at night. Government supplies of hot food have been halted. Le Monde reports that Russia has not fulfilled its promise to give aid agencies effective access inside Chechnya. Approximately 400,000 Chechens remain displaced from their communities -- 180,000 in Chechnya, 20,000 in Ingushetia and thousands in Georgia.

    The European preparatory conference for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance took place in Strasbourg from 11-13 October. Mary Robinson, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, opened the conference by asking "How come in countries with such good economic development, xenophobic tendencies are still paramount in Europe, and this is reflected by the development of a ‘fortress Europe’ [against immigrants]?" At least 13 ideas from the NGOs were adopted at the conference, including a call for countries to ban discrimination against asylum-seekers and refugees.

    The Asia Pacific Mission for Migrant Filipinos issued a press release on the proposed ban of Filipino migrant workers in Taiwan. While Taiwan imposed a ban on Filipino factory and construction workers to Taiwan in the wake of several recent incidents, the Philippine government is working to resume the deployment of Filipinos to Taiwan. For more information, contact

    Amnesty International reports that the Bhutanese government rejected a UN formula by which the eligibility for Bhutanese refugees to be included in a future voluntary repatriation program would be determined. Since late 1990 almost 100,000 Nepalese-speaking people have fled or were evicted from southern Bhutan to refugee camps in Nepal. The Bhutanese government maintains that the people in the refugee camps are illegal immigrants from Nepal who had overstayed their contracts in Bhutan or Bhutanese who left the country voluntarily and thus are deemed to have renounced their nationality under Bhutan’s citizenship law. At a meeting last May, both countries reported substantial progress in moving towards a solution, but the stumbling block has been the verification of citizenship. For further information, see Amnesty International’s website.


    UNHCR has just published The State of the World’s Refugees: Fifty Years of Humanitarian Action. This book provides an historical overview of refugee movements over the past five decades and examines the evolution of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the development of international refugee law. The book also provides new insight into the politics of international humanitarian action. Particular attention is placed on current efforts by Western governments to restrict asylum. Sections on internally displaced people, security of aid workers, disparity in response, reconstruction and funding trends are included.

    Migrants Rights International and December 18 listservs have been merged into a new initiative, Migrants News, which provides information on international migration, treatment of migrants, and protection of migrants’ human rights as well as events and activities by NGOs, international organizations and intergovernmental agencies. The listserv is available in English, French and Spanish. To receive regular e-mails with news on migration or to contribute information, contact

    The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children has published Behind Locked Doors: Abuse of Refugee Women at the Krome Detention Center. Krome Detention center is operated by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service near Miami, Florida. The report finds widespread sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse of detainees, especially women. Language barriers and a lack of access to legal services make women particularly vulnerable to abuses. Medical care is grossly inadequate at times. Prolonged detention and the stress caused by miserable living conditions drive some women to commit suicide. The report makes a number of concrete suggestions for improving conditions at Krome. Available from the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, e-mail:, website.

    The International Network on Refugee Women Fleeing Gender-based Persecution, a project of the Canadian Council for Refugees has created an electronic listserv to distribute timely information on developments related to gender-based persecution. The listserve is maintained by the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University for the Canadian Council for Refugees. To participate in the listserv, contact or, for more information, see the project’s web page

    The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has added new documents to its web page, including an ELENA Research Paper on Non-State Agents of Persecution; an ELENA Research Paper on Non-State Agents of Persecution and the inability of the State to Protect: the German Interpretation; Conditions for the reception of asylum-seekers; Report of the ECRE Focus Group on South Eastern Europe’s Conference in Montenegro. The web page also includes an EU developments area on the site, tracking developments in asylum policy in the European Union.

    Negotiating Return: Conflict and Control in the Repatriation of Eritrean Refugees, by Lucia Ann McSpadden, is a critical analysis of the negotiations allowing Eritrean refugees to return home from Sudan. During Eritrea’s long war for independence, one-fourth of Eritrea’s population fled their homes. Although these Eritrean refugees ended up in many different countries, the majority, over 500,00 have been in asylum in Sudan, some for up to 30 years. Reaching Reconciliation: Churches in the transitions to democracy in Eastern and Central Europe, also edited by Lucia Ann McSpadden, explores the role of the churches in the transitions from communism in East Germany, Estonia and Poland. Both books are published by the Life & Peace Institute, it can be ordered from (Other publications may be seen at their web page)

    UNHCR’s Evaluation and Policy Unit has posted a large number (30+) of research reports on its website ( which can be printed out. These reports include case studies ("Angry Young Men in Camps: Gender, Age and Class Relations amongst Burundian refugees in Tanzania" by Simon Turner), legal studies ("Human rights and refugees: enhancing protection through international human rights law", by Brian Gorlick) and discussions of general issues ("Are refugee camps good for children?" by Barbara Harrell-Bond.)

    Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Tanzania by Marc Sommers looks at the situation of young male refugees who escaped from remote camps in Tanzania to work in the fast-growing city of Dar es Salaam. (Forthcoming in 2001, Refugees and Forced Migration Studies, vol. 8, Berghahn Press.)

    United for Intercultural Action offers a variety of materials for confronting racism and fascism, including calendars of events, posters, study materials, postcards, etc. United is supported by more than 500 organizations, including the Council of Europe and the World Council of Churches. For more information, contact them at or visit the website.

    RESPECT is a European Network of migrant domestic workers’ organizations, individuals, trade unions, NGOs and supporters that campaigns for the rights of all non-EU citizens working in private households, both women and men, regardless of immigration status. RESPECT supports the relevant campaigns of its members at a local, national EU and international level. For more information, contact Roshan DiPuppo at

    Rethinking Refugee and Displacement, ed. by Elobieta M. Goidziak and Dianna J. Shandy includes articles on the detainment of Haitian refugees at the Guantanamo Naval base; Somali integration and diasporic consciousness in Finland; Tibetan immigration to the United States, nationality and citizenship among Mexicans in the United States; environmentally-forced migrants in rural Bangladesh; asylum-seekers’ centers in the Netherlands; forced migration and return of Kosovar Albanians; recent research on migration from Afghanistan; and gender and wartime migration in Mozambique. (Available from American Anthropological Association, 4350 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 640, Arlington, VA 22203 USA).

    The Ecumenical Refugee Office (with INTO) in Greece has produced a publication (in Greek) which may serve as a model for other countries: an informative guide for police and other authorities with basic information (and a few stories) on the countries from which migrants come. A second publication, by the Center for Returning Migrants, is for migrants returning to Greece from Germany which provides information on how to access pension funds and other benefits.

    Upcoming Events

    The next meeting of the Amman process, an ecumenical initiative to bring together churches from the Mediterranean region to consider coordinated responses to migration, will be held in Beirut from 12-14 January. This meeting will consider the impact of migration on the Middle East and in Southern Europe with a view toward developing a more effective church response.

    ELENA, the European Legal Network on Asylum, will offer an International Course on Refugee Law as a Response to Failure of State Protection from 8-10 December 2000 at the Diakonische Akademie in Berlin. The Course will focus on two of the most controversial issues of contemporary interpretation of refugee law: ‘persecution by non-state agents’ and the concept of the ‘internal protection alternative.’ The course is aimed at lawyers and legal counsellors from European countries who have significant experience of representing asylum-seekers. For further information, contact Catherine Massey at ECRE (

    The Canadian Council for Refugees’ International Network and Conference on Refugee Women Fleeing Gender-based Persecution will organize an international conference from 4-6 May 2001 in Montreal. The conference will consider results of NGO advocacy on gender-based persecution, case studies, new UNHCR guidelines, children claimants, emerging refugee determination systems, documentation issues, the impact of gender on decision-making cases involving sexual orientation, resettlement and gender-related persecution and other issues. For further information, contact Afsaneh Hojabri ( or visit the CCR website

    The ECRE Focus Group on South-Eastern Europe is organizing a seminar on "The NGO role in return and reconstruction in Kosova/Kosovo" in Pristina from 4-5 December for international, regional and local representatives working in NGOs, inter-governmental organizations, the military and civil society. The conference seeks to raise key questions about coordination of humanitarian assistance, to explore the critical issues involved in minority protection, to highlight the need for practical development support for local civil society, and to offer a space to plan future advocacy work. (For further information, contact Mike Young of the ECRE Focus group:

    The Refugee Studies Centre of the University of Oxford is offering an International Summer School in Forced Migration from 2-20 July 2001. The course is designed primarily for senior and middle managers who are involved with assistance and policy-making for forced migrants. The three-week course includes modules on: asylum policy and international law, the globlisation of forced migration, programmes that address the psycho-social needs of forced migrants, coordination of relief efforts and negotiating institutional responses to refugee crises. Full funding may be available for for nationals from: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Subject to contract there may also be funding for EU nationals under the age of 35 working in EU countries. For more information, contact Shannon Stephen at or visit the web page.

    The next Assembly meeting of PICUM will be held in Antwerp from 23-24 February 2001 in Antwerp. PICUM is the Platform of NGOs for Inernational Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants. Two themes will be highlighted at this meeting: EU migration policies and their impact on undocumented migrants and the 1990 International Convention on Migrants Rights and its importance for undocumented migrants. The PICUM Secretariat began operations on 15 November and the PICUM coordinator, Nele Verbruggen can be reached at tel: +32 2 201 11204. The e-mail address provisionally remains the same:

    Working with Conflict is a course offered by Responding to Conflict to be held in Birmingham, UK from 30 April to 6 July 2001. The course aims to help participants to reflect in depth on their situation, re-examine their assumptions and reassess their approach to handling conflict, develop practical methods of increasing the effectiveness of their work, study a wide range of approaches to dealing creatively with conflict, learn and practice new skills and techniques, build continuing links with other groups and agencies and facilitate courses and workshops on similar themes in their own localities. The course is composed of four modules: understanding conflict and change, organising effectively, strategies for addressing conflict and building peace, and preparing for action. The fee for the full course is £3000 with accommodation costs of £1,660. Some scholarships are available. For further information, contact Responding to Conflict at or visit the website.

    The International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance will be offered in Geneva from 4 February - 3 March 2001 by the Center for International Health and Cooperation, the University of Geneva, Hunter College of the City University of New York in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. This intensive four week training is designed for field managers of humanitarian agencies (or equivalents) and seeks to provide professionals and volunteers with a comprehensive insight into the needs of refugees, internally displaced people and affected populations. Course fees are US$4,000 including lodging costs. For further information, contact or visit the website.

    The Centre for Refugee Studies’ Summer Course on Refugee Issues offers postgraduate training in refugee issues. The 8-day programme includes sessions on refugee law, role of UNHCR, racism, human rights documentation, internally displaced persons, refugee resettlement and many other topics. Registration fee is Cdn$800. For further information, contact Sharryn Aiken at

    Beginning in January 2001, Uprooted People will be distributed primarily through e-mail and will be available (as it is presently) on the WCC website. Copies will still be mailed to church partners who do not have e-mail or Internet access. Please return this form by 1 December - or send an e-mail message with uprooted people in the subject line to - to ensure your continued subscription.

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    E-mail addresses:
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    Uprooted People provides coverage of information and action relating to refugees, migrants and internally displaced people. It is published every three months by the International Relations team, World Council of Churches, 150 route de Ferney, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.
    Tel: 41 22 791 6111
    Fax: 41 22 791 6122

    Editor: Elizabeth Ferris

    Articles may be freely reproduced providing that acknowledgement is made to Uprooted People, the publication of the International Relations team, World Council of Churches.

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