Georgetown Journal of International Affairs

Strengthening Protection of IDPs: The UN's Role

Sixty years after the Holocaust, it is time for the United Nations to act on the ideals upon which it was founded and to stop distancing itself from — or implementing half-hearted responses to — situations in which millions of people are forced from their homes by civil wars and deliberate government policies of ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity or genocide. The current period of UN reform offers an opportune time to strengthen the international response to situations of internal displacement and develop a more reliable and predictable international system to protect people uprooted in their own countries. This article calls for reinforcement of the legal framework for the protection of IDPs; the enlargement of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to encompass IDPs; robust international protection measures — including expanded international police and military capacity; and more attention to political solutions to resolve the conflicts at the heart of displacement.

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