Regionalizing Protection: AU and ASEAN Responses to Mass Atrocity Crimes against Internally Displaced Persons
Forcible displacement can constitute a mass atrocity crime. This is something that is considered within the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Efforts to implement the Guiding Principles at the regional level suggest one path to implement stronger legal protections for internally displaced persons (IDPS), in particular, against mass atrocity crimes. These regional processes, however, can vary in remarkable ways. In the African Union, the Kampala Convention has brought the Guiding Principles and protections against mass atrocity crimes directed at idps into regional hard law; it also includes robust implementation and enforcement mechanisms. At this stage, however, these mechanisms remain anticipatory rather than effective; consequently international assistance will be vital to entrench the rights anchored in the Convention. By contrast, ASEAN has introduced no overt protections for idps. However, its developing legal human rights framework through the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights, coupled with the Association's response to the Rohingya idp crisis in Myanmar, suggests that a policy-focused change, while incremental, may be happening.