Governance, Civil Conflict, And Refugee Protection In Sub-Saharan Africa: A Primer

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Bruce A. Forster
Jessica D. Forster


Governance, Failing states, Civil Conflict, Refugees, International Humanitarian Law


This paper provides an introduction to the concepts of governance and state weakness, fragility or failure.  Selected indices of performance are presented with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. As noted by the 2005 UK Commission for Africa “The most extreme breakdown of governance is war.” The paper discusses the concepts and definitions of civil conflict and civil war, and the prevalence of civil war in Sub –Saharan Africa.  Among the costs of civil war are the people who are displaced due to their fear for life amidst the conflict.  If displaced persons exit the country they become refugees. The paper provides an introduction to the evolution of international humanitarian law since World War II to protect non-combatants, including refugees.


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