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Displaced Rights and Citizenship: An Appraisal of The Practical Existence of Displaced Women in IDP Camps in Nigeria

Florence U. Masajuwa,


This paper examines the actual experiences of women in displaced people's camps in Nigeria with regard to their rights as citizens and their rights as vulnerable persons. Using participation in decision making as the point of reference, the paper argues that protection of rights of displaced women first as citizens of the country and as persons deserving of humanitarian protection will best be understood and appreciated when tested against the practical existence of displaced women in IDP camps. Data is from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data comes mainly from the responses from two sessions of focus group discussion (FGD) organized in two separate camps –one in Abuja and the other in Urhogua, Benin-City, Edo State. Secondary sources include books and internet sources. The paper used the qualitative analytical method to analyze the data. Findings show that the camps are managed through interventionist decisions and policies due to the lack of a legal and policy framework. To the displaced women, it does not matter who is making the decisions to provide their immediate needs and, consequently, protecting their rights. Also, they do not think their rights, whether as citizens or as vulnerable women needing humanitarian protection, will be better protected or guaranteed only when they are involved in the management of the affairs of the camp through participation in decision making. The paper concludes that internally displaced women do not need outright substitute protection as such. All they need is a purposive management program that addresses their basic needs as vulnerable women. Keywords: Internally Displaced Women, Rights, Citizenship, Practical Existence, Appraisal..

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