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Refereed articles

The narrative of vulnerability and deprivation in protection regimes for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa: An Appraisal of the Kampala Convention - p 219

Domestic legal systems are often incapable of providing protection to internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the level warranted by international and regional standards. This article suggests that one of the reasons for this anomaly is that international and regional protection regimes respond to the narrative of vulnerability and depravation more positively than the domestic systems.

Domestic legal systems are often incapable of providing protection to internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the level warranted by international and regional standards. This article suggests that one of the reasons for this anomaly is that international and regional protection regimes respond to the narrative of vulnerability and depravation more positively than the domestic systems. This is because domestic systems are underwritten by rigid constitutions with a positivist orientation and are therefore less susceptible to the fluidity and flexibility that the narrative portends. Moreover, these systems often succumb to elite manipulation, corruption and political gerrymandering. This article argues that whereas the gap between international normative standards and domestic ones is not unique to IDP protection, the phenomenon provides an opportunity for infusing the notions of vulnerability and depravation into the normative transformation/change debate engendered by the current state of most political systems in Africa. To illustrate this theoretical postulation, the article examines the propriety of the recently passed Kampala Convention against the domestic systems of IDP management and protection in regions with higher incidence of displacement, such as Uganda and Kenya, and suggests that one of the ways in which the gap could be bridged is by re-conceptualising the narrative so that it becomes a tool for normative change. This approach, the article argues, places the narrative at the centre of legal reform and constitutional change, and emboldens the quest for improving IDP protection regimes across the continent.

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