Given the unprecedented number of people fleeing their homes without leaving their country of origin in both conflict and disaster contexts, it is crucial for all humanitarian actors to understand the existing legal protection of IDPs under different legal frameworks at international, regional and national levels.
On 21 February, PHAP hosted an online learning session on the legal protection of IDPs with two PHAP members: Cecilia Jimenez, recently appointed Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and Jean-François Durieux, who was most recently the director of the International Refugee Law and Migration Law program of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. In total, over 300 online participants were provided with an introduction to the main legal frameworks protecting IDPs and to the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and new challenges.
With a 30-year career with UNHCR followed by research and teaching positions, Jean-François Durieux shared his knowledge on the topic, introducing the concept of internal displacement and presenting the different legal instruments that provide protection to IDPs, either through broad international legal bodies such as international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL), or through specific legally-binding regional treaties i.e. African Union’s Kampala Convention, which has set a precedent in the protection of IDPs at regional level. In addition, Jean-François stressed three main areas of protection for IDPs, highlighting the laws preventing displacement in the first place, protecting IDPs during displacement, and providing durable solutions to displacement.
Cecilia Jimenez, who assumed her new role as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in November 2016, presented her new mandate and strategic approach for the coming years. Cecilia mentioned the importance of partnering with all types of organizations at all levels (international, regional, and national) to enhance the protection of IDPs, and pointed out some of her emerging priorities, such as promoting the participation of IDPs and first responders in protection policies, working on peace-building processes, and paying special attention to the protection of internally displaced children.
After each presentation, participants had the opportunity to pose questions to the guest experts, which allowed for looking in more depth at issues of particular concern to the participants. As there was not time to answer all questions in live, Cecilia and Jean-François will respond to additional answers in the coming weeks, and follow-up answers will be published on the PHAP website.
Read more about this session, watch the recording, or download the audio podcast at https://phap.org/21feb2017
Online Learning Series on Humanitarian Law and Policy
This event was part of PHAP’s Online Learning Series on Humanitarian Law and Policy, which consists of live interactive online sessions targeted to practitioners in PHAP’s membership who need an up-to-date working knowledge of legal frameworks and concepts applicable to humanitarian action.
On 21 October 2016, PHAP also organized in this series a separate learning session on the legal protection of refugees. You can read more about the session on refugees and access the audio and video recordings at https://phap.org/21oct2016