Twenty years ago, the United Nations established a special procedure to promote the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Since the mandate was created, a great deal has been accomplished in support of the human rights of IDPs. Three mandate-holders – Francis Deng (1992-2004), Walter Kälin (2004-2010), and Chaloka Beyani (2010-present) – have strengthened the normative framework for IDPs; raised awareness of IDPs’ particular protection and assistance needs; and supported governmental efforts to develop laws and policies to uphold the rights of the internally displaced. The mandate holders have also been leaders in the push for a more predictable and coherent international humanitarian response to internal displacement. The Brookings Project on Internal Displacement was created in 1994 to provide support to the mandate, and over the years has played a leading role in developing a strong research base to inform responses to IDPs; advancing debates on internal displacement; bringing together key stakeholders; and supporting the development of more effective policies on IDPs.
In this context, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs, with the support of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, convened a two-day consultation on internal displacement. The consultation brought together a range of key stakeholders and supporters of the mandate, including participants from international agencies, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and donor governments. The aim of the process was:
- to take stock of past achievements, current trends and key challenges; and
- to identify priorities and goals for action in support of IDPs over the next five years.
The meeting provided an opportunity for international stakeholders to renew their commitment to work together to address the challenges surrounding internal displacement.
The key product of this meeting was the consultation report, which outlined past achievements, identified trends and challenges and created priorities for advocacy and action on internal displacement in the next five years.
In the twenty years since the United Nations established a special procedure to promote the rights of internally displaced persons, the Brookings Project on Internal Displacement has focused on this important issue. On November 28-29, the Project reviewed past progress in upholding the rights of internally displaced persons and look at future challenges.