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Southeastern Regional Seminar in African Studies (SERSAS)

Fall 2004 SERSAS Conference
22 - 23 October 2004

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Department of African-American and African Studies
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina 28223 USA

Beth Elise Whitaker
Department of Political Science
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte, NC

Funding the International Refugee Regime:
Implications for Protection in Tanzania


This paper examines how donor funding has affected the underlying principle of protection in the international refugee regime. It focuses on Tanzania, which received more than one million refugees during the 1990s. Over time, Tanzanian policy shifted markedly, most notably with the forced repatriation of 500,000 Rwandans in 1996. Although security considerations played a role in the policy changes, international funding levels were also important. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found it increasingly difficult to raise funds for the operation, and Tanzania had long made clear its position on the necessity of burden sharing. The paper examines the extent to which recent cuts in donor funding have contributed to declining protection standards and explores the implications for ongoing refugee operations. To the extent that funding patterns have been a factor, the research suggests that a lack of funding may cause practice within an international regime to become inconsistent with its underlying principles, thus weakening the overall regime.

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First Online Edition: 21 October 2004
Last Revised: 21 October 2004