Incorporating the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into Domestic Law: Issues and Challenges

Walter Kälin,
Walter Kälin Former Brookings Expert
Khalid Koser,
Khalid Koser Executive Director - Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund
Andrew Solomon, and
Andrew Solomon Former Brookings Expert
Rhodri C. Williams
Rhodri C. Williams Consultant, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement

January 19, 2010

In order to better protect the human rights of the displaced, the Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of IDPs has urged governments to adopt laws or policies to address internal displacement, as it is the government that holds the primary responsibility for protecting the rights of the displaced. In order to assist governments in doing so, in 2008 the Brookings-Bern Project published a manual for law and policymakers addressing key points to include in a law or policy on internal displacement. These studies served as the basis for this manual and provide a more in-depth analysis of the key issues and challenges to incorporating the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into domestic laws.

This study consists of fifteen chapters, each discussing one particular issue related to the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in domestic law. The studies in this volume focus on specific IDP protection issues chosen for their inherent technical complexity and demonstrated significance to the amelioration of the situation of IDPs and resolution of internal displacement. While the authors have been asked to draw on many common sources and follow a standard format, each study also reflects the opinions and conclusions of its author(s), based on their research and experience.

With minor deviations in light of the subject matter, each of the chapters follows a similar structure. They start with an overview of the legal framework pertaining to the relevant issue, including identificatioin of the most relevant provisions of the Guiding Principles, and an explanation of the legal basis for the cited Principles. Next, each chapter considers the main obstacles, both legal and practical, to implementing the Guiding Principles. Most chapters next review the regulatory framework in various countries with the next section focusing on substantive and procedural elements of state regulation, distinguishing amont regulations and procedures prior to displacement, during displacement, and in the context of durables solutions. The chapters then go on to review institutional elements of state regulation, again distinguishing different stages of the displacement cycle. Though the majority of each chapter focuses on national mechanisms, a brief section in each is also devoted to the role of the main international actors for each topic and their responsibilities.

This volume was edited by Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and Co-director of the Brookings-Bern Project; Rhodri C. Williams, a consultant with the Project; Khalid Koser, former Deputy Director and currently a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Project; and Andrew Solomon, current Deputy Director of the Project. It was published by the American Society of International Law, Studies in Transnational Legal Policy No. 41 (2010). The book can be downloaded in its entirety or by chapter through the links below.