By Penelope Mathew
Professor Penelope Mathew is the Freilich Foundation professor at the Australian National University. Prior to this role, Professor Mathew was a visiting professor and the Director of the Program in Refugee and Asylum Law at the University of Michigan Law School.
In many countries, the bona fides of refugees and asylum-seekers is questioned. It is asserted that the narrow exception to states’ powers over immigration established by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (‘Refugee Convention’) is abused by persons seeking economic advancement. Some believe that refugees and asylum-seekers are taking something that does not belong to them; that they are getting special treatment; and that citizens are the losers as a result.
Marina Sharpe is a founding member of the Asylum Access Board of Directors, and a DPhil Candidate and Trudeau Scholar at the University of Oxford. In this post, she presents an in-depth legal analysis of the employment rights of African refugees.
The issue of whether refugees in Africa enjoy the right to work under the regional legal framework established by the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (African Convention) has been the subject of some confusion—primarily because the African Convention does not explicitly provide for employment rights.