Realising IDP return: challenges in law and implementation

Hudson, Ben (2017) Realising IDP return: challenges in law and implementation. In: Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Annual Meeting, 15-17 June 2017, Sookmyung Women’s University, Seoul.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Despite numerous high-level proclamations of an IDP ‘right to return’, this paper will argue that current frameworks inadequately protect IDPs’ right to return to their homes or places of habitual residence. The 1998 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, although designed to address the failings of existing international law, itself falls short as a “soft law” instrument to unequivocally assert such a right. This omission has profound consequences. Not only is it detrimental to the securing of durable solutions, it also leaves IDPs without recourse to an effective right to challenge their displacement, and sustains an increasingly unjustifiable gulf in protection between those subject to involuntary movement who have crossed an internationally-recognised border and those who have not.
Twenty years on from the drafting of the Guiding Principles, the UN continues to play a vital role in the search for IDP solutions. However, the system needs further revitalising to effectively respond to this complex and ever-evolving phenomenon, and to achieve the ambitious targets set in the World Humanitarian Summit Commitments to Action. This paper will show that to provide practicable IDP solutions and to actualise return as both feasible and foreseeable for all IDPs, necessitates once again critically engaging with fundamental legal and conceptual challenges, all of which test the very foundations that underpin our understanding of internal displacement.

Keywords:Internal displacement, Internally displaced persons, Human rights, Return, United Nations, Guiding Principles
Subjects:M Law > M130 Public International Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
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ID Code:30172
Deposited On:12 Mar 2018 12:41

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