Most of the world’s 27.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) live in protracted displacement. These are situations where the process for finding durable solutions is stalled, and/or where IDPs are marginalized as a consequence of violations or a lack of protection of their human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights. Solutions are absent or have failed and IDPs remain disadvantaged and unable to fully enjoy their rights.
Achieving durable solutions for these millions of IDPs in long-term limbo is complicated by a range of factors, including the lack of resolution to conflicts, a long economic recovery period, inadequate community infrastructure, weak rule of law and property disputes. Innovative approaches by governments, national civil society and humanitarian, human rights and development organizations alike are needed to allow these IDPs to resume normal lives.
In order to draw attention to the challenges and possibilities of achieving a durable solution through local integration, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, IDMC/NRC, UNHCR and UNDP decided to organize a second seminar focusing specifically on local integration in protracted internal displacement situations. The Second Expert Seminar on Protracted Internal Displacement, “IDPs in Protracted Displacement: Is Local Integration a Solution?” took place on 19-20 January 2011 in Geneva.
The seminar brought together about 100 participants from around the world, from a range of backgrounds and organisations. They included representatives of governments and civil society organisations in countries with protracted internal displacement, international humanitarian and development organisations (including UN agencies) donors, research organisations, academics and other experts. The Chatham House Rule was in effect during the meeting to allow participants to speak more freely.
The seminar focused on the experiences of six countries with protracted internal displacement – Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Serbia, southern Sudan and Uganda. For each country field research was commissioned and the resulting case studies were distributed before the seminar. Other background materials circulated to participants included an overview of local integration of IDPs in protracted displacement and reference materials relating to durable solutions. This report summarizes the proceedings and outcomes of the seminar.