Return and Reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons in Post-Conflict Situations: Right-Based Approach to Peacebuilding
29 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2012 Last revised: 30 Aug 2017
Date Written: November 24, 2012
In post-conflict societies, return and reintegration of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is an extremely vital tool to bring about a lasting peace and, therefore, forms an intrinsic component of most peace-building plans. However, return and reintegration is a complex and at times daunting process, often requiring a great deal of resources, technical skills and meticulous planning. In this regard, albeit the primary responsibility goes to the national state where the displacement occurs, in post-conflict countries, the State itself usually has no effective machinery to ensure successful return and reintegration. At times, even if the state is capable, it may itself be the actor of the displacement and therefore unwilling to assist in the safe return and decent integration of IDPs. For this reason, scholars and practitioners in the field have long advocated for a right-based approach to return and integration. This paper also builds on the right-based approach. It seeks to explain the specific material, legal and physical needs of IDPs in terms of “rights” by exploring the various humanitarian rules of international law applicable in post-conflict situations. The essay is predicated on the premises that adopting a right-based approach to return and reintegration not only enables IDPs to have legally enforceable rights but also generates corresponding obligations on the States to implement them.
Keywords: IDPs, displacement, rights
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