The Other Side of Oil Wealth: The Case for Compensation of Displaced Women

Citation:

Abusharaf, Adila. 2007. The Other Side of Oil Wealth: The Case for Compensation of Displaced Women. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Author: Adila Abusharaf

Abstract:

International literature on both war and development in conflict zones has kept pace, first, with the growing ramifications of armed conflicts as they affect women and, second, with the serious human rights implications of displacement caused by development. Due to the magnitude of the problem of internally displaced people ("IDPs") worldwide, there is, however, still an ongoing need, at both national and international levels, for policies to deal with the impact of displacement and to fill the gaps in existing protection and resettlement regimes.

As a contribution to the international literature, this report documents the underexplored case for compensating internally displaced women ("displaced women"), using the example of southern Sudanese women from oil-producing areas as an empirical study. The report aims to prioritize the interests and compensation for displaced women who are single-headed households. The claim of compensation for displaced women coincides with the politically momentous signing of the Machakos Peace Protocol, on 20 July 2002, between the Government of Sudan ("G0S") and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army/Movement ("SPLA/SPLM"), to put an end to the 20- year civil war in Sudan. The parties have undertaken to facilitate the immediate return of IDPs, including those who were originally from oil-producing areas; however, the negotiations of the formula to share oil revenues did not consider the role that oil development played in the plight of these people, nor the role that oil development will play in rehabilitating their homeland. This report responds to this shortcoming and urges the GoS to compensate displaced women, who are the most disadvantaged group because of their limited access to resources, so that they can achieve better livelihoods upon their return.

This case for compensation is based on the analysis of a process resulting from conscious political choices, a process that marginalizes displaced women with respect to their treatment by government institutions and laws of protection. Notably, national oil policies and legislation, customary laws, and the social relations of gender and ethnicity are all factors compounded to constrain displaced women's access to resources. This report uses gender equity as a lens through which to explore and understand the different problems that displaced women and men face, and the different opportunities available to help them adjust to non-traditional gender roles and responsibilities imposed by war and displacement. Compensating displaced women upon their return is a legitimate and viable option. Compensation will enable them to participate or at least survive the new forces of the monetarized oil economy after war and displacement have shattered their families and tribal communities, the traditional sources of their security. For the progress of oil development in post-conflict southern Sudan, GoS and SPLM must formulate gender-equity-based policies. These are fundamental for productivity in a monetarized oil economy.  Adopting a gender-sensitive process is essential for ensuring the just and fair compensation of displaced women, who have no means to meet their basic needs upon their return.

For the progress of oil development in post-conflict southern Sudan, GoS and SPLM must formulate gender-equity-based policies. These are fundamental for productivity in a monetarized oil economy. Adopting a gender-sensitive process is essential for ensuring the just and fair compensation of displaced women, who have no means to meet their basic needs upon their return.

Keywords: compensation, oil, displacement, gender roles, IDPs, Sudan

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Livelihoods, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Sudan

Year: 2007

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