Letter from Chaloka Beyani, February 2012
LETTER FROM CHALOKA BEYANI — February 2012
Meetings in Geneva, Human Rights Council; Course on IDP Law
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The new year started off on a busy note with a series of meetings in Geneva with partners and supporters of the mandate.
On 19 January, I chaired the launch of From Responsibility to Response: Assessing National Approaches to Internal Displacement, a new publication from the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. This groundbreaking report builds on the Framework for National Responsibility developed by the Project in 2005, using the twelve benchmarks identified in the Framework for National Responsibility to evaluate fifteen governments’ responses to large-scale internal displacement. With a particular focus on Georgia, Kenya, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, the case studies contained in this report bring into focus the factors—including political will—that shape effective national responses to internal displacement. While my co-director Beth Ferris highlighted key findings from the study, Louise Aubin of UNHCR’s Division on International Protection Services and Kate Halff, head of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, opened the discussion with comments on the implications of this research for their work. I encourage you to explore the conclusions of this study, available on the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement website.
The following day, I met with UNHCR staff members to discuss issues including the ratification and implementation of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa. I also led a roundtable meeting hosted by the Swiss government with representatives of many of the donor countries that provide essential support for my mandate by funding the work of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. This donor roundtable will become an annual event, and was a wonderful opportunity to share information on my recent activities and the priorities of my mandate: strengthening international normative frameworks for IDPs, improving rights-based responses to internal displacement linked to climate change and natural disasters, and addressing the protection and assistance concerns of internally displaced women and IDPs living outside camp settings. And, of course, there were several other informal meetings with partners.
I look forward to returning to Geneva in March to present my first thematic report to the Human Rights Council which includes a thematic focus on IDPs living outside of camp situations as well as the reports of my missions to the Maldives and to Kenya. In both cases, I am exploring ways to be supportive of efforts by those governments—in very different contexts—to address issues around internal displacement. I am also working hard with the support of colleagues at OHCHR to set dates for missions in the first half of the year and to plan our annual course on IDP law organized in collaboration with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL) and UNHCR. This year for the first time, we will offer a second course on natural disasters – also in partnership with IIHL and UNHCR, later in the year.
Thank you for your continuing support for the important work of my mandate.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Co-Director, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement