Refugee Responses, State-Like Behavior, and Accountability for Human Rights Violations: A Case Study of Sexual Violence in Guinea's Refugee Camps


Farmer, Alice. 2006. “Refugee Responses, State-Like Behavior, and Accountability for Human Rights Violations: A Case Study of Sexual Violence in Guinea’s Refugee Camps.” Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal 9 (1): 44–84.

Author: Alice Farmer


This article advocates for better access to justice and a more comprehensive accountability system in refugee camps. Refugee women are frequently subject to sexual violence and sexual exploitation in the country of refuge, and find themselves without ways of redressing these fundamental rights violations. This Article uses the sexual violence and sexual exploitation that was documented in refugee camps in Guinea in 2002 as an illustrative case study of the protection problems faced by refugee women in many parts of the world. The author argues that the host government, UNHCR, and various non-governmental organizations operated together to fulfill state-like functions in long-term refugee camps, but their efforts left accountability, access to justice, and enforcement of women's human rights laws sorely lacking. The movement toward rights based refuge - embraced in varying forms by the aid providers in Guinea - provides a theoretical and practical framework for greater rights recognition, but has not yet delivered a complete response to the specific human rights violations faced by refugee women. If rights-based refuge is to succeed in refugee settings like Guinea, aid providers must make the protection of women's human rights a central concern by instituting a robust, multi-layered system of accountability to which all refugee women have access.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Justice, NGOs, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Guinea

Year: 2006

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