Letter from Chaloka Beyani, February 2013
Dear Friends and Supporters of the IDP Mandate,
2013 is by now well underway, as is my program of work for this year on behalf of the human rights of internally displaced persons worldwide.
At the end of January, Beth Ferris and I had the opportunity to convene a roundtable in Geneva with some of the key supporters of my mandate and the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. As Co-Directors of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, Beth and I presented the five year strategic plan that we have developed, with inputs from many different quarters, for the Project’s work in support of the IDP mandate. Under this plan, the Project will continue its efforts to strengthen and promote the implementation of normative frameworks on internal displacement, focusing in particular on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the groundbreaking Kampala Convention on internal displacement in Africa. The Project will continue to meet the critical need for high-quality, policy-relevant research on the challenges facing IDPs, and will concentrate especially on the role of development actors in supporting durable solutions to displacement. We will also be exploring new ways for the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement to provide strategic support to preparing for and following up on the missions and country visits that are integral to my work as the Special Rapporteur. It’s an exciting plan, for which I was pleased to receive warm expressions of support from many of our key stakeholders. I look forward to working with these and other supporters of the mandate to further refine and ensure the effective implementation of this strategic plan. I would like to express my particular appreciation to the Swiss government, a longstanding supporter of the IDP mandate, for hosting the roundtable.
While in Geneva, I also had the opportunity to connect with UNHCR staff members engaged in IDP protection work, as well as with various embassy officials and a delegation of policymakers and leaders from South Sudan concerned with effective responses to internal displacement. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a discussion on initiatives to support IDPs in Myanmar, and the sustainable resolution of displacement in this country as it works to emerge from conflict.
In last month’s letter, I noted the important step that Kenya had taken with President Kibaki signing into law the country’s new act on IDPs. The “Prevention, Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and Affected Communities Act, 2012” has now been published and will shortly come into force. This law and many other laws and policies addressing internal displacement are available on the website of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. Supporting the development of laws and policies on internal displacement is a critical part of my work as Special Rapporteur, and I trust that this on-line resource will be a useful resource for many others who are also engaged in this endeavour.
In the upcoming months I look forward to a mission to the Philippines as well as visits to New York and Washington, DC, amongst other places. On my travels, it is always a pleasure to meet with the many others around the world who are committed to advancing the rights and wellbeing of IDPs. Thank you for your continued contributions to this critical work.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Co-Director, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement