Integrating Internal Displacement in Peace Processes and Agreements


One of the gravest humanitarian consequences of armed conflict is the displacement of populations. Those who are forced to flee and leave everything behind are often the victims who suffer the most. Their voices are seldom heard in peace negotiations, and yet realizing durable solutions for them is a crucial element for lasting peace. Return of internally displaced populations is often used as a benchmark against which progress in post-conflict stabilization and peacebuilding is measured. Durable solutions can best be achieved if issues related to internal displacement are addressed in peace agreements.

The report Addressing Internal Displacement in Peace Processes, Peace Agreements, and Peace-Building of the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, which was released in September 2007, concluded that internal displacement has often been addressed in an ad hoc manner in peace processes and peace agreements. Drawing on case study analyses and consultations, the document echoed the recommendation of mediators, diplomats, UN representatives, and donors to develop guidance for mediators focusing specifically on incorporating internal displacement in peace initiatives.

This guide was developed in response to that recommendation. It gives practical guidance to mediators on how to integrate internal displacement in peace negotiations, how to incorporate issues pertaining to internal displacement into peace agreements, and how to engage the internally displaced persons themselves in the peace process.

Production of this guide was undertaken with guidance from a steering committee chaired by the representative of the UN secretary-general on the human rights of internally displaced persons and composed of senior mediators and leading experts on internal displacement, in close cooperation with the United Nations Mediation Support Unit within the Department of Political Affairs, and in consultation with experts on mediation, peacemaking, and internal displacement. The lead author in drafting this guide was Gerard McHugh.

Walter Kälin
Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

Chris Coleman
Chief, United Nations Policy Planning and Mediation Support Unit, Department of Political Affairs, United Nations