Report on enhancing the participation of internally displaced persons in decisions affecting them
Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
To the GA at its 72nd session, October 2017
In this report, the Special Rapporteur considers how national authorities and their national and international humanitarian, development and human rights partners can enhance the participation of internally displaced persons in decisions affecting them at all phases of internal displacement, and makes a series of recommendations.
Ensuring that internally displaced persons are included at the outset in the design, planning and implementation of actions and decisions directed towards them must be at the heart of responses by national Governments, local authorities and all humanitarian, development and other relevant actors. However, interaction with internally displaced persons commonly reveals a lack of information provided to them at all phases of displacement; infrequent or unsustained engagement by responsible authorities; an absence of or inadequate mechanisms and processes for consultation and participation; and decision making processes that are characterized by “top down” approaches that fail to take their views, needs and objectives fully into account. This undermines the enjoyment of human rights by internally displaced persons and progress towards durable solutions that rest upon the fundamental principle that internally displaced persons have the right to be involved in decisions affecting them.
In this report, the Special Rapporteur calls for a participation “revolution” to ensure that the right of internally displaced persons to participate in decisions affecting them is not only guaranteed in theory, but upheld in practice and given higher priority as part of national human rights and good governance obligations. The Special Rapporteur highlights that facilitating the participation of internally displaced persons must be understood as an obligation of Governments and not only an activity of civil society and humanitarian and development partners.
On 25 January 2017, the Special Rapporteur convened an expert discussion on ensuring the participation of internally displaced persons in order to further reflect on the issues and challenges, obtain the views of key United Nations and international non-governmental organization partners and consider positive practices that have been implemented.
In addition, in December 2016, she sent a questionnaire to all States Members of the United Nations seeking their experiences, policies and practices, including relating to measures to ensure the participation of internally displaced persons. She sincerely thanks the Governments that responded.