IHRDA is participating at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) NGO Consultations taking place in Geneva. This meeting brings together civil society to share and exchange with the UNHCR on questions relating the UNHCR mandate: the protection of refugees under the 1954 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.
The Consultations, which started on June 28 to June 30, are being attended by over three hundred participants ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe. It included a one-and-a-half hour plenary session with the High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres. Among the issues raised by African participants was the need for UNHCR to strengthen its support litigation in refugee matters. UNHCR currently does so by submitting amicus briefs and statements in some cases at national and regional level where their mandate is involved, as was the case in communication 002/09 IHRDA and OSJI (on behalf of children of Nubian descent in Kenya) v Kenya, recently decided by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
IHRDA participated as panelist at the thematic session on ‘Partnerships for futures: Addressing Statelessness among children and youth.’ Edmund Foley presented on ‘Beyond a name to a nationality: a journey through the Communication on behalf of Nubian Children against Kenya’, which attracted much interest, addressed the question of litigation of children’s rights, with “Nubian Children’s communication” as case study but also highlighted aspects of the African Human Rights system and the IHRDA litigation and information dissemination work.
The Consultations are structured to have many thematic sessions and side events going on at the same time that includes an Africa Regional Group Session as well as a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Group Session.