Special Protection for Internally Displaced Persons

Special protection for internally displaced persons (IDPs) refers to the measures and support provided to individuals and communities who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence, natural disasters, or other human rights abuses, but have not crossed an international border. IDPs remain within the borders of their own country and are often in need of assistance and protection.

The primary responsibility for the protection of IDPs lies with their own government. However, in situations where the government is unable or unwilling to provide adequate protection and assistance, the international community, including humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), may step in to fill the gaps and support IDPs.

The protection of IDPs is guided by international legal frameworks, including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. These principles outline the rights of IDPs and provide guidance to governments and other actors on how to respond to the needs of IDPs. The principles include ensuring the right to life, liberty, and security of IDPs, as well as access to food, shelter, healthcare, education, and other basic services.

Special protection measures for IDPs may include:

  1. Physical Protection: This involves ensuring the physical safety and security of IDPs by preventing and responding to threats of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence. It may involve establishing safe spaces, providing security patrols, and addressing the underlying causes of violence.
  2. Access to Humanitarian Assistance: IDPs often require immediate assistance, including food, clean water, shelter, and healthcare. Special protection measures involve ensuring their access to these essential services, often through the provision of humanitarian aid.
  3. Legal Protection: IDPs have the right to legal protection and access to justice. This includes ensuring their rights are respected, providing legal assistance, and addressing issues such as property restitution and documentation.
  4. Non-Discrimination and Equality: Special protection measures aim to prevent discrimination against IDPs and promote equality. This involves addressing any discriminatory practices, ensuring access to services without discrimination, and promoting social inclusion.
  5. Durable Solutions: Special protection efforts should work towards finding durable solutions for IDPs. This may involve supporting their voluntary return to their places of origin when it is safe and feasible, supporting local integration in host communities, or facilitating resettlement in other parts of the country.

The specific measures and approaches to protect IDPs can vary depending on the context and the needs of the displaced population. It is important for governments, humanitarian organizations, and other actors to work together to provide comprehensive and effective protection for IDPs, taking into account their specific vulnerabilities and needs.

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