Over the past decade, the term “internally displaced person” (IDP) has entered the international lexicon and gained wide currency to denote persons forcibly displaced within their countries. It is generally understood that a person becomes internally displaced when s/he is forced or obliged to flee or to leave his or her home or place of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or human-made disasters, but remains within her or his country of origin. It also has come to be widely recognized that the factual situation of being internally displaced tends to create particular needs and vulnerabilities requiring special attention. The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement seek to address these needs by spelling out the various norms relevant to providing protection and assistance in all phases of internal displacement. Yet, while there exists considerable awareness of when internal displacement begins and what special needs it entails for the affected persons, the issue of when internal displacement ends or, in other words, when an IDP ceases to be considered as such, has been unclear.
While some actors and organizations have begun to make determinations of when internal displacement ends, calculations tend to be ad hoc, arbitrary and made on a case-by-case basis. Moreover, in the absence of common criteria on this issue, the methodologies used and, consequently, the conclusions reached, differ among actors, often significantly. Increasingly, organizations working in the field, governments framing policies and programmes for IDPs, and those preparing statistics, are pointing to the need for consensus and specific criteria on determining when displacement ends.
To address this critical question, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has turned to the Representative of the Secretary-General (RSG) on IDPs. The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, in an official request to the RSG on IDPs, requested his advice and guidance “indicating when generically an individual would not only become an IDP but when he/she should no longer be considered under this category.” Though “the question is not new,” the Deputy ERC noted, “the answer has hitherto been quite elusive. Operational demands, however, increasingly dictate the requirement for a coherent response.” In response to that request and in consultation with OCHA, the Representative suggested that a first step would be to convene a small group of experts from international organizations and research institutions to examine the issues involved and identify steps for further action. This paper has been prepared with a view to helping to guide and stimulate the discussions.
I’m sure the demise of a Washington Post journalist is not a priority for a ‘fake news’ president. I don’t think the Trump administration is going to do anything about Khashoggi... Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, but that said, it has behaved within international norms for the most part. It did not used to kidnap and murder critics in such an egregious way. It didn’t round up hundreds of its own citizens and shake them down in a Ritz-Carlton [as Mohammed bin Salman did last fall]. It has not put a former crown prince under house arrest. This … reflects the somewhat precarious nature of bin Salman’s position. His legitimacy is open, and his judgment is reckless. Saudi royal family members have gone out of their way to say [the war in Yemen] was not a family decision... [bin Salman] continues to enjoy the protection of his father, and that’s what’s crucial. But I would not be surprised if he were moved out of the line of succession or there was an assassination attempt.
How will values shape U.S.-China competition?
The crocodile tears of the crown prince and other Saudi officials are probably for deception and prevarication. The disappearance of Jamal [Khashoggi] fits with a pattern of crude intimidation and the silencing of criticism and dissent.