Integrating Internal Displacement in Peace Processes and Peace Agreements

Texts of Pertinent Legal Instruments

The following selection of documents—and the excerpts derived from them—represent the most salient internationally and regionally sanctioned legal tools available for use by peace negotiators. The primary criterion for their selection and excerption specifically centers on their relevance to the interests and protection of internally displaced persons.

A brief background on the evolution of the Guiding Principles is posted on the OHCHR website.

United Nations Resolutions

UN Security Council Resolution 1868 (2009) concerning Afghanistan.

Paragraph 4(f): Decides that UNAMA and the Special Representative “play a central coordinating role to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in accordance with humanitarian principles and with a view to building the capacity of the Afghan Government, including by providing effective support to national and local authorities in assisting and protecting internally displaced persons and to creating conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1865 (2009) concerning Cote d’Ivoire.

Paragraph 14: “Urges the signatories of the Ouagadougou political Agreement to take the necessary steps to protect vulnerable civilian populations, including by guaranteeing the voluntary return, reinstallation, reintegration and security of displaced persons, with the support of the United Nations system, and to fulfill in this regard their commitments in accordance with the Ouagadougou political Agreement and their obligations under international humanitarian law;”

UN General Assembly Resolution 60/1 (2005) World Summit Outcome

Paragraph 132: “We recognize the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 39 as an important international framework for the protection of internally displaced persons and resolve to take effective measures to increase the protection of internally displaced persons.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1564 (2004) concerning Sudan.

Paragraph 6: “Affirms that internally displaced persons, refugees and other vulnerable peoples should be allowed to return to their homes voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, and only when adequate assistance and security are in place;”

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) concerning fulfilling a gender perspective...

Preamble: “Expressing concern that civilians, particularly women and children, account for the vast majority of those adversely affected by armed conflict, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and increasingly are targeted by combatants and armed elements, and recognizing the consequent impact this has on durable peace and reconciliation...”

UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) concerning Kosovo.

Paragraph 9(c): “Establishing a secure environment in which refugees and displaced persons can return home in safety, the international civil presence can operate, a transitional administration can be established, and humanitarian aid can be delivered;"

Paragraph 11(k): “Assuring the safe and unimpeded return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes in Kosovo;”

UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) on the situation relating to Kosovo.

Paragraph 7: “Authorizes Member States and relevant international organizations to establish the international security presence in Kosovo as set out in point 4 of annex 2 with all necessary means to fulfil its responsibilities under paragraph 9 below;”

Paragraph 9: “Decides that the responsibilities of the international security presence to be deployed and acting in Kosovo will include: … (c) Establishing a secure environment in which refugees and displaced persons can return home in safety, the international civil presence can operate, a transitional administration can be established, and humanitarian aid can be delivered;

Point 4, annex 2: “The international security presence with substantial North Atlantic Treaty Organization participation must be deployed under unified command and control and authorized to establish a safe environment for all people in Kosovo and to facilitate the safe return to their homes of all displaced persons and refugees.”

UN Security Council Resolution 1009 (1995) on compliance by Croatia with the agreement signed on 6 Aug. 1995 between Croatia and the UN Peace Forces/UN Protection Force, including the right of the local Serb population to receive humanitarian assistance.

Paragraph 2: “Demands further that the Government of the Republic of Croatia, in conformity with internationally recognized standards and in compliance with the agreement of 6 August 1995 between the Republic of Croatia and the United Nations Peace Forces (a) respect fully the rights of the local Serb population including their rights to remain, leave or return in safety, (b) allow access to this population by international humanitarian organizations, and (c) create conditions conducive to the return of those persons who have left their homes.”

UN Security Council Resolution 820 (1993) on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Paragraph 7: “Reaffirms its endorsement of the principles that all statements or commitments made under duress, particularly those relating to land and property, are wholly null and void and that all displaced persons have the right to return in peace to their former homes and should be assisted to do so.”

International Treaties/Covenants

Customary Rules of International Humanitarian Law

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966): Article 25: “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 [of the Covenant] and without unreasonable restrictions:

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives; …”

International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965): Article 5: “… States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: …

(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections… to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level …”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): Article 21: “[Every person] has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.”

1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions

Regional

African Charter

Article 13

1. Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law.

2. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to the public service of his country.

Article 14

The right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.

Article 21

2. In case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation.

African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention)

The entire text of this legally binding instrument bears directly on government responsibility to, the legal status and rights of, the entailment of protection of, and stated interests of internally displaced persons in Africa.

American Convention on Human Rights, "Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica"

Article 1. Obligation to Respect Rights

1. The States Parties to this Convention undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.

Article 11. Right to Privacy

2. No one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence, or of unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation.

Article 21. Right to Property

1. Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his property. The law may subordinate such use and enjoyment to the interest of society.

2. No one shall be deprived of his property except upon payment of just compensation, for reasons of public utility or social interest, and in the cases and according to the forms established by law.

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Article 21:

1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with regard to his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour or his reputation.

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 31: Everyone has a guaranteed right to own private property, and shall not under any circumstances be arbitrarily or unlawfully divested of all or any part of his property.

European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, and 13

Protocol 1

Article 1. Protection of property

Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

Pact on Security, Stability, and Development in the Great Lakes Region

Article 12

Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons

The Member States undertake, in accordance with the Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons, to provide special protection and assistance to internally displaced persons and in particular to adopt and implement the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as proposed by the United Nations Secretariat.

Article 13

Protocol on Property Rights of Returning Persons

The Member States undertake, in accordance with the Protocol on the Property Rights of Returning Persons, to provide legal protection for the property of internally displaced persons and refugees in their countries of origin, and in particular to:

a) Adopt legal principles whereby the Member States shall ensure that refugees and internally displaced persons, upon returning to their areas of origin, recover their property with the assistance of the local traditional and administrative authorities;

b) Create a legal framework for resolving disputes arising from the recovery of property previously occupied or owned by returning persons.

Article 20

Programme of Action on Humanitarian, Social and Environmental Issues

1. The Member States undertake to find lasting solutions to guarantee protection and assistance to populations affected by political conflicts in the Great Lakes Region, as well as by humanitarian, social, and environmental catastrophes, by implementing a Programme of Action on Humanitarian, Social and Environmental Issues, which is aimed at:

a) Promoting policies aimed at disaster prevention, protection, assistance, and the search for durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as their environment;

b) Promoting relevant policies to guarantee access to basic social services by the populations affected by conflicts and effects of natural disasters.

International Conference on the Great Lakes Region - Protocol on the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons

The entire text of the Protocol bears directly on government responsibility to, the legal status and rights of, the entailment of protection of, and stated interests of internally displaced persons.

International Conference on the Great Lakes Region - Protocol on the Property Rights of Returning Persons

The entire text of the Protocol bears directly on government responsibility to, the legal status and rights of, the entailment of protection of, and stated interests of internally displaced persons.

Cartagena Declaration on Refugees

The Colloquium adopted the following conclusions:

9. To express its concern at the situation of displaced persons within their own countries. In this connection, the Colloquium calls on national authorities and the competent international organizations to offer protection and assistance to those persons and to help relieve the hardship which many of them face.