Report on internal displacement and the role of national human rights institutions


Published:
17 April 2019
Author:
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
Presented:
To the HRC at its 41st session, June-July 2019

Summary

In this report, the Special Rapporteur examines the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the protection of the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Special Rapporteur considers obstacles to their engagement on internal displacement as well as their activities and positive practices at all phases of displacement, from prevention of the conditions leading to internal displacement to their roles in responding when displacement occurs and in processes to achieve durable solutions. Human rights violations are both a cause and a consequence of internal displacement, and the risk of human rights violations is heightened during displacement. Consequently, the report highlights the critical role of national human rights institutions and provides recommendations to ensure their effectiveness in protecting human rights alongside and in collaboration with other national and international partners.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur examines the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the protection of the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Special Rapporteur considers obstacles to their engagement on internal displacement as well as their activities and positive practices at all phases of displacement, from prevention of the conditions leading to internal displacement to their roles in responding when displacement occurs and in processes to achieve durable solutions. Human rights violations are both a cause and a consequence of internal displacement, and the risk of human rights violations is heightened during displacement. Consequently, the report highlights the critical role of national human rights institutions and provides recommendations to ensure their effectiveness in protecting human rights alongside and in collaboration with other national and international partners.

In this report, the Special Rapporteur addresses the role of NHRIs in relation to internal displacement through: prevention, preparedness and early warning; human rights monitoring, data gathering and analysis; establishing internal expertise and capacity; as part of multi-institutional approaches; developing and promoting national law and policy; legal assistance and supporting complaints; awareness-raising, education and human rights training; promoting and facilitating the participation of internally displaced persons; working in proximity to internally displaced persons; reporting and public information. The Special Rapporteur also addresses the role of NHRIs in relation to protracted displacement and achieving durable solutions.

Consultations

The Special Rapporteur conducted a consultative process to examine how NHRIs and their regional networks currently work with and on behalf of IDPs to identify positive practices and seek their views on how to enhance their work to ensure that the Guiding Principles and other relevant national, regional and international standards are implemented in practice. In December 2017, in collaboration with GANHRI, she sent a questionnaire to all NHRIs to map their ongoing work on internal displacement. She thanks those that responded.

In February 2018, preceding the GANHRI annual meeting, the Special Rapporteur organized a one-day consultative workshop in collaboration with UNHCR and OHCHR. The workshop attracted 36 participants representing 22 individual NHRIs and networks. They explored the institutions’ modalities of engagement in policy and operational responses to displacement; exchanged experiences and strategies; discussed challenges; identified key lessons and emerging good practices; and provided recommendations to strengthen their role in preventing and responding to internal displacement. During the annual meeting of GANHRI, the Special Rapporteur organized a public side event, co-sponsored by the Governments of Austria, Honduras and Uganda, to examine national institutions’ use of the Guiding Principles and to propose ideas to expand the scope of these efforts.

On 4 March 2019, the Special Rapporteur organized a follow-up workshop in Geneva in collaboration with GANHRI on the role of NHRIs in preventing conditions leading to internal displacement. National institutions from Colombia, Honduras and Kenya presented concrete examples of their activities, strategies, tools and mechanisms to minimize and avoid the risk of internal displacement, including monitoring and risk assessment and the establishment of early warning mechanisms.

The Special Rapporteur has participated in numerous meetings and events to speak about the role of NHRIs in relation to internal displacement.