The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: Their Use and Application in the Americas

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

March 26, 2003

It is an honor for me to be with you today to present the Guiding Principles on International Displacement and their use and application in the Americas. My presentation is divided into four parts. First, I will briefly discuss the global standing of the Principles. Then I will introduce the unique institutional arrangements for the displaced that have developed in the Americas and the use of the Principles in this region. Following this, I will discuss the development and content of the Principles. Lastly, I will point out how the Spanish language edition of the Handbook for Applying the Guiding Principles can be utilized by everyone here to address the protection and assistance needs of the internally displaced.

It is important to highlight that the Guiding Principles are the first international standards developed for internally displaced persons. These 30 Principles set forth the rights of the internally displaced and the obligations of governments and insurgent groups 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. Although the Principles are not a binding treaty they are based on binding international humanitarian law, human rights law and refugee by analogy.