Areas of activity
1. Promoting Respect for the Human Rights of the Internally Displaced
Advocacy. The Representative engages Governments, international organizations, and also NGOs and other non-state actors as appropriate, in dialogues in order to raise awareness on and enhance the protection of the human rights of IDPs and addresses violations of the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), including through personal and written contact, and, when suitable, public statements.
Disseminating the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The Representative promotes awareness of and dialogue about the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2), including through supporting their translation and wide dissemination and the convening of seminars with governments, international organizations, regional bodies and NGOs.
Promoting National Policies and Laws on Internal Displacement. The Representative encourages the development of national laws and policies on internal displacement and, to this end, plans to develop a domestic policy-maker’s handbook to assist Governments. The handbook will draw upon the expertise of international legal experts and domestic policy makers from different parts of the world and define the elements that should be addressed in a national legal or policy framework on internal displacement. The handbook will be disseminated widely and should be a useful tool for national legislators and policy makers.
Deepening Understanding about IDPs’ Rights. The Representative is introducing a new course on the law relating to internal displacement at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law* in San Remo, attended by high-level military and civil Government officials from different parts of the world. He also sponsors research into the implications of particular provisions of the Guiding Principles (such as those concerning property rights, political participation, return and resettlement, and displacement by natural disasters or development projects) and how they best can be translated into policy.
2. Dialogue with Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations and Other Actors
Undertaking Country Missions. The Representative undertakes 2-3 country missions each year to inquire into the human rights and protection issues of IDPs with relevant authorities, civil society, international actors and IDPs themselves and to develop recommendations for solving ongoing problems.
Engaging in Dialogue with Government Representatives. The Representative engages in dialogue with Government representatives while on country visits as well as with diplomatic representatives in New York, Geneva, and in regional and other fora.
Convening National Seminars. The Representative convenes or supports national seminars in affected countries to bring together Government representatives, civil society, international and regional bodies to develop a more effective national response. The Representative also convenes meetings in other venues to focus attention on specific situations and issues of internal displacement.
Supporting National Human Rights Institutions. The Representative encourages national human rights institutions to integrate internal displacement into their work through technical assistance and other support. In this endeavor, he collaborates with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions* and the Norwegian Refugee Council Global IDP Project*). Beyond the Asia Pacific region, the Representative is seeking to expand such efforts to institutions in other parts of the world, particularly in Africa and Latin America.
Engaging Non-State Actors. The Representative also seeks to engage non-state actors (armed groups) in a human rights dialogue and promote their compliance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Partnerships with Civil Society . The Representative works with civil society partners around the world to support their efforts in promoting and protecting the rights of IDPs. Collaborative projects include: the development of studies, reports, handbooks and other materials on the rights of IDPs, including translations of the Guiding Principles into local languages; courses, lectures or workshops that raise awareness and enhance responses to internal displacement; supporting human rights monitoring by IDPs; and outreach campaigns on the rights of IDPs.
Giving a Voice to IDPs. To promote a greater voice for IDPs in the design of programs and initiatives on their behalf, the Representative plans to hold consultations with IDPs to learn their views, provide information about the different tools and strategies available to support them, help forge links among IDPs in different countries and make their views better known internationally.
3. Strengthening the International Response to Internal Displacement
Raising Human Rights and Protection Concerns at the International Level. With a view to ensuring the effectiveness of the international response to internal displacement, the Representative draws attention to situations where existing protection arrangements would need to be enhanced, particularly through his mission reports and participation in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee* and other inter-agency fora. He works closely with the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Inter-Agency Internal Displacement Division of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,* the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,* and other relevant agencies and organizations to identify solutions for addressing gaps in international responses to the rights and needs of IDPs.
Integrating IDP issues into the Work of Regional Organizations. The Representative seeks to integrate responses to regional IDP problems into the work of regional organizations. In partnership with these organizations, the Representative supports the convening of regional seminars and the development of policies and programs to benefit IDPs. The Representative will also explore the potential for further standard setting at the regional level.
4. Mainstreaming the Human Rights of IDPs in the UN System
Strengthening Cooperation with OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and other Special Procedures. The Representative works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and collaborates with the Commission on Human Rights’ country and thematic procedures to raise the visibility of IDP issues within the scope of their mandates, and encourage systematic attention to the issue by the human rights treaty bodies.
Integrating Attention to IDPs’ Human Rights into the Work of UN Agencies, Departments and Programs. The Representative lends his expertise on IDPs’ human rights to other relevant agencies, departments and offices of the UN to assist their development of programs and policies in conformity with international norms and the needs of IDPs. The Representative will reach beyond humanitarian actors to also address political, peacekeeping, development and financial actors.
Inter-Agency Advocacy. The Representative engages inter-agency fora, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, to which he is a standing invitee, on specific country and thematic issues and concerns of IDP human rights. He also provides support when needed in the development of system-wide policies and procedures, such as on the development of benchmarks for “when displacement ends.”
The Representative submits annual reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly*.
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