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Prevention of arbitrary displacement in armed conflict and generalized violence


24 November 2021





Virtual side event to the UN General Assembly at its 76th session

4 November 2021 8:30 to 10:00 am NY / 13:30 – 15:00 Geneva


As the number of people living in internal displacement because of armed conflict and violence continues to grow globally reaching 48 million at the end of 2020,1 the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons calls for an urgently needed preventive approach.

The international community has been devoting increasing attention to the prevention of crises and their consequences, recognizing the interlinkages between peace, security, sustainable development and human rights, as reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and reports and statements of the UN Secretary-General.2 In his call to action for human rights in 2020, the Secretary-General recalled that prevention was a top priority across United Nations organizations and that there was “no better guarantee for prevention than for Member States to meet their human rights responsibilities”. Prevention was one of the pillars of the multi-stakeholder 2018-2020 Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People and is one of the topics addressed by the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Internal Displacement in its report to the Secretary-General.

In her 2021 thematic report to the UN General Assembly on the prevention of arbitrary displacement in situations of armed conflict and generalized violence, the Special Rapporteur analyses the relevant international legal standards and argues for the importance of prevention across the displacement cycle. The Special Rapporteur discusses how well-designed and well-implemented laws, policies, programmes and durable solutions processes that are grounded in human rights are key for the effective prevention of arbitrary displacement.

Objective of the event

The event aims at creating a space to disseminate and discuss the findings and recommendations of the report of the Special Rapporteur, and advancing a discussion among stakeholders on how to ensure a rights-based preventive approach to arbitrary displacement, grounded in international human rights and humanitarian law. The event aims at bringing together different stakeholders, including Member States, international organizations and civil society organizations, to discuss challenges and good practices in relation to:

  • the adoption of domestic legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the prevention of arbitrary displacement in line with international obligations and standards;
  • how to incorporate prevention in humanitarian assistance, protection efforts and durable solutions processes with a view to preventing multiple and recurrent arbitrary displacement; and
  • the role of the international community in support to States in the implementation of their obligations to prevent arbitrary displacement, including the role of humanitarian, development and peace actors and existing early warning mechanisms.


Opening and report presentation:

  • Opening of the side event by the moderator, William Chemaly, Global Protection Cluster Coordinator
  • Welcome and opening remarks by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Odd-Inge Kvalheim, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations in New York
  • Presentation of the report by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

Panel speakers:

  • James Turpin, Chief, Prevention & Sustaining Peace Section, OHCHR New York Office
  • George Okoth-Obbo, Assistant Secretary-General, Secretary and Head of Secretariat, UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement
  • Laëtitia Courtois, Permanent Observer and Head of the ICRC Delegation to the UN
  • Grainne O’Hara, Director, Division of International Protection, UNHCR
  • Freddie Carver, Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS) Manager  
  • George Conway, Crisis Bureau Deputy Director, UNDP


  • Moderated Question and Answer Session
  • Closing remarks by the moderator, William Chemaly, Global Protection Cluster Coordinator

This event is co-hosted by the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, OHCHR, UNDP, UNHCR, IOM the Global Protection Cluster, the GP2.0, and the Permanent Missions of Norway to the United Nations in New York.


1. Norwegian Refugee Council and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021.

2. Security Council resolution 2282 (2016) and General Assembly resolution 70/262, A/72/707-S/2018/43, A/70/709.