Finding Durable Solutions for IDPs: Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and International Experiences of Voluntary Return, Resettlement and Reintegration*

Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli
Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli Senior Associate for Colombia and Haiti, Washington Office on Latin America

December 3, 2003

It is an honor for me to be with you today to examine the search for durable solutions for internally displaced persons in Colombia. My presentation is divided into three parts. First, I will review what the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement state concerning return, resettlement and reintegration of IDPs. Then I will focus on the key themes that need to be addressed when developing a return, resettlement and reintegration plan based on these Principles. In doing so I will draw upon several tools developed at the international level that help integrate the standards found in the Principles into these processes. Third, I will explore how the key themes underlying the Principles can be supported with practical steps and provide examples that have been recommended or implemented in displacement situations in other countries. In particular, I will briefly discuss the Angolan experience before moving to my concluding remarks.

The Guiding Principles are the first international standards developed for internally displaced persons. These 30 Principles, which are based on international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee law by analogy, set forth the rights of the internally displaced and the obligations of governments and non-state actors toward these populations. They cover all phases of displacement: protection from arbitrary displacement, protection and assistance during displacement, and during return or resettlement and reintegration. Since most of you are familiar with the Principles in general, I will focus my remarks on section V, which relates to the topic of this seminar.