Letter from Chaloka, September 2013 - Syrian Conflict; Kampala Convention; National Laws

Dear Friends and Supporters of the IDP Mandate,   

The summer has been a busy one for the IDP mandate, and for the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement.

Like many of you, I have been following the situation in Syria with deep concern. In August, I submitted a report to the General Assembly on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria. I also presented the report today to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. While elements of the situation in Syria are changing rapidly, my report stresses that grave violations of the rights and wellbeing of IDPs have been a consistent feature of the conflict over the past two years. Increased international support for assistance to IDPs throughout the country is needed, and all sides in the conflict must respect the rights of IDPs, as laid out in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. As the situation evolves, I will continue my efforts to monitor the situation in Syria closely and to raise the protection concerns facing IDPs that too often go under the radar.

A particular highlight of the summer was my recent trip to Kampala for the 9th annual course on the law of internal displacement. Since 2005, the mandate holder, UNHCR, the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement and the International Institute for Humanitarian Law (IIHL) have worked together to offer this course to government officials and UN staff members working on internal displacement issues around the world. Typically the course is held in Sanremo, Italy at the IIHL headquarters. Given the recent entry into force of the Kampala Convention, this year we decided to hold the course in Kampala, primarily with African government officials and parliamentarians. It was a particular pleasure to have the African Union Commission join us in co-hosting this important event. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to spend the week with course participants who are playing active roles in supporting the implementation of the Convention, and upholding the rights and wellbeing of IDPs across the continent. In upcoming months, I look forward to working with many of the participants and their colleagues to further promote the domestication and implementation of this groundbreaking agreement.

As many of you know, my mandate has a particular commitment to supporting the development of national laws and policies on internal displacement. These national instruments are especially important in the context of the domestication and implementation of the Kampala Convention. I was therefore glad that the course on the law of internal displacement provided an opportunity to share a valuable new tool that has been prepared with the support of my mandate to inform the development of these instruments. National Instruments on Internal Displacement: A Guide to their Development is a resource for government officials, parliamentarians and other stakeholders involved in the creation of national laws and policies on IDPs. The guide is jointly published by the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, and provides concise advice on the participatory processes that should inform these tools.

As ever, I would like to thank you for your continued support for the rights and well being of the internally displaced, and the activities of the IDP mandate. I wish you a productive and rewarding autumn, and look forward to meeting many of you as my work and travels continue.

Sincerely,

Chaloka Beyani
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Co-Director, Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement