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?
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.
A new Global Database on IDP Laws and Policies reveals the areas – both geographical and topical – in which provision remains insufficient.
Examples from a number of States who have successfully implemented their own IDP laws and policies reveal several factors that can assist effective implementation.
The Guiding Principles enjoy a long history of support in Georgia. However, their successful implementation is still a work in progress.
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.
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.
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.
Having adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, States must be helped to make their promise to ‘leave no one behind’ a reality for IDPs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
In June 2018, 72 refugee representatives from 27 refugee-hosting countries gathered in Geneva for the first-ever Global Summit of Refugees.
Enyimba kwe nu. When we work together, we achieve more.
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.