Integrating Internal Displacement in Peace Processes and Peace Agreements


Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement

Addressing Internal Displacement in Peace Processes, Peace Agreements and Peace-Building (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, September 2007)

The aim of this report is to consider how the issue of internal displacement can best be integrated into peace processes, peace agreements, and peace-building. The report reviews how displacement has been addressed in recent agreements in Bosnia, Burundi, Cambodia, Georgia, Guatemala, Kosovo, Liberia, Macedonia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and Sudan as well as in the Great Lakes Peace Pact, and identifies good practice.

Addressing Internally Displaced Persons in a Peace Process: Why and How?, Khalid Koser, Dec. 14, 2007.

This presentation draws on the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement report entitled "Addressing Internal Displacement in Peace Processes, Peace Agreements and Peace-Building," and focuses on just one aspect of the report: addressing internal displacement in peace processes – or negotiations for peace.

Consulting IDPS: Moving Beyond Rhetoric, Feb. 2008

Summary of The Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement meeting on “Consulting IDPs: Moving beyond Rhetoric” convened on 15-16 November 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. On the first day of the meeting, representatives of nine organizations shared their experiences in consulting with IDPs. On the second day, these participants were joined by other representatives of the humanitarian community to learn about UNHCR’s Tool for Participatory Assessment in Operations and to consider draft guidelines for consulting with IDPs.

Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons: An Essential Dimension of Peacebuilding, Walter Kälin, Mar. 13, 2008

This briefing paper highlights four key elements necessary for finding durable solutions for IDPs. The first is of a procedural nature: Return or other solutions should take place voluntarily based on an informed decision by the persons concerned without coercion of any kind. Then, there are three substantive requirements: 1.) Ensuring the safety of returnees including disarmament and demobilization, mine-clearance and rebuilding the rule of law; 2.) Returning property to the displaced and reconstruction of their houses; and 3.) Creating an environment that sustains return, including through appropriate funding mechanisms. The paper then goes into a description of three country situations (Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, BiH) and two situations the PBC has addressed (Burundi and Sierra Leone).

Internal Displacement, Transitional Justice, and Peacebuilding: Lessons Learned, Elizabeth Ferris, Nov. 11, 2008.

A brief review some of the lessons learned in research on displacement, peacebuilding and transitional justice, bringing experiences from other parts of the world on the central issues to be discussed at this workshop: Durable solutions, return and relocation; Land and territory; Transitional justice and internal displacement; and Participation and IDP organizations.

Justice, Accountability, and the Protection of Displaced Persons, Andrew Solomon, Dec. 1, 2009

This paper explores the nexus between justice and displacement in an effort to develop a common understanding of justice and accountability measures as an integral part of comprehensive responses to conflict-induced displacement and the protection of internally displaced persons, including efforts to achieve solutions to displacement that are voluntary, dignified, and just, and therefore durable.

Moving Beyond Rhetoric: Consultation and Participation with Populations Displaced by Conflict or Natural Disasters (Washington, DC and Bern: Brooking Institution and University of Bern, October 2008)

The importance of engaging directly with populations affected by poverty, conflict and disaster is a common theme in the literature on humanitarian aid, development and peacebuilding. The mandate to engage in consultation and participation with affected communities has been enshrined in, for example, UN Security Council Resolutions, UN agency manuals, international conventions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) codes of conduct and guidelines, as well as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Protecting Internally Displaced Persons: A Manual for Law and Policymakers (Washington, DC and Bern: Brooking Institution and University of Bern, October 2008)

This manual is meant to provide guidance to national authorities seeking to prepare and enact domestic legislation and policies addressing internal displacement in their country. In presenting advice on how to shape laws and policies addressing the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and ensuring their rights, the manual draws on two key sources: the rules of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as reflected in the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (hereinafter Guiding Principles); and secondly an increasing body of IDP-specific laws and policies already enacted and implemented by national authorities in countries of every region in the world.

The Role of Civil Society in Ending Displacement and Peacebuilding, Elizabeth Ferris, Mar 13, 2008.

Civil society is made up of a rich array of groups, including professional associations, religious institutions, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, academic centers, women’s groups and other organizations with varying degrees of capacity, expertise, and commitment. Civil society plays different roles in different contexts and cultures. Yet, few civil society organizations explicitly characterize their work with internally displaced persons (IDPs) as peacebuilding – even though their efforts often influence whether IDPs are able to achieve lasting solutions and contribute to sustainable peace.


Evaluating Peace Mediation, November 2008.

Contemporary peace mediation is a crowded and increasingly competitive field currently lacking established accountability mechanisms. The present paper proposes a general framework for evaluating international mediation activities. Its main purpose is to provide a tool for observers, donors and desk officers to achieve better quality control of mediation processes, while also facilitating critical reflection and lessons learned among mediators.

Federalism and Peace Mediation, January 2009.

This "Peace Mediation Essential" gives only an introduction to federalism. In order to reach a peace agreement, it may be necessary to develop a vision of the future state organization. In many conflicts, especially conflicts with an ethno-political component, a lack of power-sharing is among the root causes of conflict. Thus, future power-sharing arrangements, including federalism, can become a part of the agenda for peace. But federalism should not be regarded as an end in and of itself or as a blueprint for appeasing conflicts.

Unpacking the Mystery of Mediation in African Peace Processes, October 2008.

This study of eleven cases of peace negotiations shows that there is no single path to a peace agreement. There is the idea that we need African chief mediators for African conflicts, we have first hand experience, and a keen sense of the African political, cultural and military realities at hand. This is correct, but I am also convinced that any African chief mediator needs the best possible experts in his mediation team, irrespective of their nationality. This study examines various peace processes, giving some indicators on why some were successful, while on the other hand others were failures. In the end, it is not who facilitates that is responsible for success or failure, but it is who negotiates. It is the negotiators that matter, not the mediators - but in some cases we can help.


A Seat at the Table: The Role of Displaced Persons in Peace Talks and Peacebuilding, speech by Donald Steinberg, December 2007.

The exclusion of IDPs from peace processes is both unjust and unwise. Given that there is likely to be little domestic pressure for the inclusion of IDPs in the processes of peacemaking and post-conflict reconstruction, it often falls to the international community – and in particular the United Nations through its mediation efforts and the power of the UN Security Council – to ensure their participation.

Good Agreement? Bad Agreement? An Implementation Perspective, by Jean Arnault.

The relationship of a peace agreement to its implementation could be viewed as either “constitutive” (where it is the basis of all implementation), or “instrumental” (where it is the basis for further negotiations during implementation). Regardless of which view one takes, the author argues that the viability of the settlement will depend on the problems that surface during the implementation stage, and that the non-continuity between actors involved in the negotiation process and the actors involved in the implementation is artificial. The author concludes his article with some practical advice for situation in which UN has to assist in implementing an agreement that it has not helped to negotiate.

Negotiating Justice? Human Rights and Peace Agreements, International Council on Human Rights Policy, (Geneva: International Council on Human Rights Policy, 2006).

The report examines human rights provisions in peace agreements, to shed some light on the role that they have in peace processes more generally. While the focus on peace agreements is somewhat artificial, it provides a clear basis for comparisons between countries. The purpose of the report is to: Assess the role of human rights in peace agreements and in sustaining peace; Identify particular areas that might be contentious or difficult and clarify the standards that have evolved in relation thereto; Lay out the issues and options for consideration by those involved in negotiations, and provide practical examples that could be of assistance to negotiators and/or human rights advocates; and Assess the advantages and risks of including human rights provisions in peace agreements, and in particular to examine what are often suggested to be clashes between ‘principle’ (including human rights measures, even if divisive) and ‘pragmatism’ (reaching agreement without any normative constraints).

Peace Agreement Drafter’s Handbook [Chapter on Refugee Return] Public International Law Policy Group. (Public International Law Policy Group, June 2005).

This handbook is a comprehensive guide on how to draft a peace agreement based upon comparative analysis of over sixty peace agreements in the past thirty years. It is intended to assist drafters, mediators, negotiators, and anyone else interested in the substantive and practical contents contained in peace agreements. The Handbook is designed to facilitate drafting peace agreements quickly, efficiently, and effectively.