Forced displacement in Africa - new inquiry

12 July 2018

The International Development Committee is conducting an inquiry on Forced displacement in Africa.


The International Development Committee is launching an inquiry into forced displacement in Africa. According to official figures, there are now 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, 20 million of which currently reside in Africa. This includes more than 13 million internally displaced people (IDPs), 5.6 million refugees and over 700,000 stateless individuals.

East Africa and global involvement

The Committee’s inquiry will have a particular focus on East Africa, which has been a hotbed of forced displacement for many years. The civil war in South Sudan has given rise to substantial refugee flows throughout the region: there are currently 1.1 million South Sudanese refugees in Uganda; over 750,000 in Sudan; and almost 450,000 in Ethiopia. Two decades of conflict in Somalia have also caused substantial refugee flows, with 282,000 Somali refugees currently in Kenya and a further 256,000 in Ethiopia. Host countries have taken different approaches: Kenya has a number of large-scale refugee camps, whereas in Uganda refugees are housed in host communities.

In 2015 UN member states, including the UK, pledged to achieve seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The declaration included a firm commitment to leave no one behind, including refugees. In Africa, the UK provides support to refugees in a variety of forms. In Uganda, for example, DFID is providing emergency assistance for refugees from South Sudan. It also provides support to Ugandan communities hosting refugees by increasing the provision of health and education services. However, IDPs are often said to be neglected by international aid efforts, in part because they tend to live almost exclusively in host communities rather than camps.

In 2016 UN member states adopted The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which committed them to respecting the human rights of refugees and migrants and supporting host countries. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) is now working towards the adoption of two “Global Compacts”: A Global Compact on Refugees, and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The former aims to set out a more equitable division of responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees; whilst the latter will set out a range of commitments around migration. Both are expected to be signed before the end of 2018, but the US Government has already said it will not sign up.

Scope of the inquiry

The International Development Committee invites written submissions on all aspects of these topics, and is particularly interested in the following:

  • How effective is DFID’s work to support refugees and IDPs in Africa, particularly East Africa?
  • Is DFID providing enough support to host countries in Africa, including those currently rolling out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda)?
  • Does DFID give sufficient priority to displacement-related issues, and to internal displacement?
  • DFID has been supporting efforts to tackle the root causes of displacement in Africa and to prevent human trafficking and smuggling; how effective has this been?
  • DFID is driving a multilateral effort to revitalise and reform measures to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of aid beneficiaries. What are the priorities for action against SEA in relation to forced displacement? (Added pursuant to paragraph 62 of the Committee’s Eighth Report of 2017-19, Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, HC 840)
  • Is DFID using the right delivery partners for its work to support refugees and IDPs, and how effectively is it supporting these partners?
  • How effective is UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency to which the UK is a key contributor?
  • How might the agreement of the Global Compacts on Refugees and Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration help those displaced in Africa?What can the UK Government do to ensure these Compacts are effective?

Previous work

In the last Parliament, the previous Committee held a one-off evidence session on displacement and food crisis in Central and East Africa (25 April 2017) and subsequently published aletter to the Secretary of State (PDF PDF 974 KB) on the topic (28 April 2017).

Written Submissions

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 21 September 2018. The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of under-represented groups to submit written evidence.

The Committee considers requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact or telephone 0207 219 1223.

Written evidence submitted should:

Have a one page summary at the front
Be no longer than 3000 words in length
Have numbered paragraphs
Avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material

UK aid for combating climate change new inquiry

The Committee has also launched another inquiry into UK aid for combating climate change, people submitting to this inquiry may also wish to submit evidence for this

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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