Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

FMR 59

In the 20 years since they were launched, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement have been of assistance to many States responding to internal displacement, and have been incorporated into many national and regional policies and laws. However, the scale of internal displacement today remains vast, and the impact on those who are displaced is immense. This issue includes 19 articles on the main feature theme of Twenty Years of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Much has been achieved over the past 20 years but with over 40 million people internally displaced as a result of conflict and violence, and no sign of numbers decreasing, we need to ask ourselves: Where do we go from here?

Nadine Walicki, Elizabeth Eyster and Martina Caterina

A new Plan of Action seeks to build momentum and encourage more strategic action on advancing policy and practice in the area of internal displacement.

Ileana Nicolau and Anaïs Pagot

A new Global Database on IDP Laws and Policies reveals the areas – both geographical and topical – in which provision remains insufficient.

Phil Orchard

Examples from a number of States who have successfully implemented their own IDP laws and policies reveal several factors that can assist effective implementation.

Carolin Funke and Tamar Bolkvadze

The Guiding Principles enjoy a long history of support in Georgia. However, their successful implementation is still a work in progress. 

Romola Adeola

The drafters of the Kampala Convention drew heavily on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, while also taking account of the African context; this is particularly evident in its recognition of the right not to be arbitrarily displaced.

Ellie Kemp

There needs to be more attention paid to the languages and communication needs of those at risk of, experiencing and recovering from internal displacement. A case-study from Nigeria brings the issues to life and challenges the international community to do better.

Natalia Krynsky Baal, Laura Kivelä and Melissa Weihmayer

Reliable, comprehensive data are vital for effective programming and practice. Data quality can be improved in many ways to better reflect the Guiding Principles and provide evidence to support their implementation.

Greta Zeender

Having adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, States must be helped to make their promise to ‘leave no one behind’ a reality for IDPs.

Christelle Cazabat

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledges the link between internal displacement and development, and States should therefore be including internal displacement when monitoring progress towards their development goals. The reality is disappointing.

Angela Cotroneo

Engaging with States affected by internal displacement by facilitating peer-to-peer exchanges on shared challenges and through tapping into the potential for mobilisation by sub-regional and regional forums can prompt national action and strengthen implementation of the Guiding Principles.

Nassim Majidi and Dan Tyler

Over the past 20 years, many governments have developed legal and policy instruments to help incorporate the Guiding Principles into national legislation or policy frameworks. Achieving effective, meaningful implementation, however, is hard, as Afghanistan shows.

Sila Sonmez, Shahaan Murray and Martin Clutterbuck

Protection of property rights on a fair and non-discriminatory basis within Iraq’s multi-ethnic society is central to the end of displacement and the start of durable solutions.

Carla Ruta, Héloïse Ruaudel and Pascal Bongard

Millions of internally displaced persons live in areas controlled by armed non-State actors. Direct humanitarian engagement with these actors is required in order to help them improve their understanding of and compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Behigu Habte and Yun Jin Kweon

Among various new initiatives in Ethiopia to address both the short- and long-term needs of IDPs, the Durable Solutions Working Group is making some progress, despite the challenging context.

Deborah Casalin

The Guiding Principles have potential to support and complement international human rights law on internal displacement but they have had little explicit consideration by international and regional human rights courts and commissions.

Reinna Bermudez, Francis Tom Temprosa and Odessa Gonzalez Benson

In the absence of a national policy on internal displacement, the Philippines has used a disaster management framework to address displacement caused by terrorism-related conflict in Marawi City. Such a response, however, suffers from the absence of a rights-based foundation. 

Jessie Connell and Sabira Coelho

Promising policy developments are underway in Asia and the Pacific to address climate and disaster-related displacement, yet the deeper governance structures required to embed protection are not yet in place, especially for planned relocation. There needs to be greater emphasis on assisting governments to set up inter-ministerial structures equipped to deal with the complex cross-cutting issues that planned relocation involves.

Alexandra Bilak and Avigail Shai

The statistics and the challenges around internal displacement are daunting. However, much has been learned since the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement were launched in 1998. What is needed now is a concerted effort and sustained momentum to build on that awareness and meet the evolving challenges.

General Articles
Janice Marshall and Kelleen Corrigan

Belize is currently facing a refugee situation that in many ways is reminiscent of the Central American refugee crisis it dealt with, successfully, in the 1990s. Could lessons from the past be key to the most effective response today?

Gillian Cornish and Rebekah Ramsay

Research on a resettlement programme in Myanmar underscores the pressing need for policymakers to understand the ways in which gender affects how different groups experience the impact of development-induced resettlement.

William Bakunzi

Refugee peer researchers can be a vital source of access, knowledge and assistance to refugee communities, and international researchers must consider how best to work collaboratively with them.

Brigitte Piquard and Luk Delft

The humanitarian community needs to better identify, collect, harness and disseminate the local humanitarian knowledge that is developed within protracted conflict settings by national NGOs.

The Global Summit of Refugees Steering Committee

In June 2018, 72 refugee representatives from 27 refugee-hosting countries gathered in Geneva for the first-ever Global Summit of Refugees.

Iwuoha Chima Iwuoha

Enyimba kwe nu. When we work together, we achieve more.

Umar Abdullahi Maina, Daniel Machuor and Anthony Nolan

Despite multiple commitments to and much guidance on the desirability of local actors leading coordination at the national level, the reality is that they continue to be excluded.


Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
FMR is an Open Access publication. Users are free to read, download, copy, distribute, print or link to the full texts of articles published in FMR and on the FMR website, as long as the use is for non-commercial purposes and the author and FMR are attributed. Unless otherwise indicated, all articles published in FMR in print and online, and FMR itself, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) licence. Details at