Reconciling State Sovereignty and Protections for the Internally Displaced

Invisible Refugees: Internally-Displaced Persons and the New Understandings of Protection and Sovereignty, at 21 (J. Williams ed., Pax International 2003).

9 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2013

See all articles by Bartram Brown

Bartram Brown

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

Questions about state sovereignty arise in any discussion of how best to protect internally displaced persons (IDPs). IDPs are those driven from their homes in fear like refugees, but who unlike the latter have not crossed the international boundary into another state. They "are among the most vulnerable populations, desperately in need of protection and assistance." Sovereignty does not prevent effective action to meet these needs, but governments invoking "sovereign rights" sometimes do.

States retain a set of exclusive sovereign prerogatives but these are not absolute, and are balanced by corresponding responsibilities. These include responsibilities to other states, and the responsibilities of the state towards its own citizens. In particular, each state has the responsibility to provide both internal and external security to its citizens. When a state cannot provide for the security of its citizens international humanitarian assistance becomes essential.

Keywords: internally displaced persons, IDPs, state sovereignty, international law, human rights, responsibilities, humanitarian

JEL Classification: K30, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Brown, Bartram, Reconciling State Sovereignty and Protections for the Internally Displaced (2003). Invisible Refugees: Internally-Displaced Persons and the New Understandings of Protection and Sovereignty, at 21 (J. Williams ed., Pax International 2003).. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345460

Bartram Brown (Contact Author)

Chicago-Kent College of Law - Illinois Institute of Technology ( email )

565 W. Adams St.
Chicago, IL 60661-3691
United States

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