Publication Details

Orchard, P. (2018). Protecting Internally Displaced Persons: The Role of National Legislation and Policies. St Lucia, Australia: Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. https://r2pasiapacific.org/resources-and-training/publications


With over forty million conflict-induced internally displaced persons globally, how the international community provides them with protection and assistance has become a critical issue. A core part of this response has been built around the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, first introduced in 1998. The Guiding Principles provide a comprehensive set of durable solutions for IDPs and have been widely recognized at the international level, incorporated into regional law, and introduced in a range of domestic laws and policies. Such efforts at the domestic level should rightly be lauded, however this is only the first step. While some forty States have introduced laws and policies, only one third have been fully implemented and international support in the drafting process has done little to improve these figures. Critical to successful implementation are four factors: timing; the inclusion of independent domestic institutions and democratic electoral systems to ensure accountability; linkages to other regional and domestic processes including peace treaties; and international support not just at the drafting stage but throughout the implementation process. Therefore, across all these factors there is a role for international actors to support these processes and improve the rates of successful implementation of such instruments.