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Areas of activity


1. Promoting Respect for the Human Rights of the Internally Displaced

Advocacy. The Special Rapporteur 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 Special Rapporteur 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 mandate of the Special Rapporteur encourages the development of national laws and policies on internal displacement and, to this end has developed a domestic policy-maker’s handbook to assist Governments  "Protecting Internally Displaced Persons: A Manual for Law and Policymakers" (October 2008). The handbook draws upon the expertise of international legal experts and domestic policy makers from different parts of the world and defines 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 Special Rapporteur participes in a 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 Special Rapporteur 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 Special Rapporteur 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 Special Rapporteur 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. He also convenes meetings in other venues to focus attention on specific situations and issues of internal displacement.

Supporting National Human Rights Institutions. The Special Rapporteur encourages national human rights institutions to integrate internal displacement into their work through technical assistance and other support.

Engaging Non-State Actors. The Special Rapporteur 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 Special Rapporteur 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; 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. The Special Rapporteur seeks to give a voice and ensure participation of IDPs in his activities, including during country visits.

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 Special Rapporteur 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 Special Rapporteur seeks to integrate responses to regional IDP problems into the work of regional organizations. In partnership with these organizations, he supports the convening of regional seminars and the development of policies and programs to benefit IDPs.

4. Mainstreaming the Human Rights of IDPs in the UN System

Strengthening Cooperation with OHCHR, Treaty Bodies and other Special Procedures. The Special Rapporteur works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and collaborates with the Human Rights Council's 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 Special Rapporteur 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. He will reach beyond humanitarian actors to also address political, peacekeeping, development and financial actors.

Inter-Agency Advocacy. The Special Rapporteur 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.

The Special Rapporteur submits annual reports to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly*.

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