Author(s): Aderanti Adepoju, Boulton Alistair, Michael Levin
This paper examines the main elements and limitations of the Economic Community of West African States Free Movement Protocols. It evaluates the degree to which the Protocols have been implemented in ECOWAS Member States and identifies their utility to refugees from ECOWAS countries residing in other ECOWAS countries. It queries whether the Protocols constitute a sound legal basis for Member States to extend residence and work rights to refugees with ECOWAS citizenship residing in their territories who are willing to seek and carry out employment. It also describes current efforts to assist Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees to achieve the legal aspects of local integration through the utilisation of ECOWAS residence entitlements in seven countries in West Africa. The paper concludes with a number of recommended next steps for further action by both the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and ECOWAS.