From October 26-28, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, with the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions, convened a workshop in Colombo, hosted by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. The objectives of the workshop were to: (1) exchange experiences and strategies relating to the protection of internally displaced persons; (2) increase regional knowledge and understanding of the human rights issues relating to dsiplacement; (3) develop further capacity-building initiatives for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs); and (4) strengthen collaboration among NHRIs by developing an IDP Focal Point Network.
Participants included representatives of the NHRIs of Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Also participating were United Natiosn agencies and local, regional and international non-governmental organizations.
Although many National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), especially in developing countries, lack capacity, they are beginning to increasingly focus attention on the issue of internal displacement. In countries with internal displacement, NHRIs have a valuable role to play in protecting and promoting the human rights of IDPs.