Towards a regime For The Protection Of Internally Displaced Persons


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With respect to the actual significance of these principles, it is primarily intended to provide guidance to the Representative in implementing his mandate, in particular in his dialogue with states; to states facing situations of internal displacement; to all other authorities, groups and persons in their relations with internally displaced persons; and to inter- governmental and non- governmental organisations when addressing internal displacement. It is also a highly persuasive compilation and consolidation of the existing international regime on the subject. Thus, it constitutes an important tool for addressing the protection and assistance needs of internally displaced persons as well as contributing to the prevention of internal displacement in the future.

With respect to their legal character, the Guiding Principles are neither a draft declaration on the rights of the internally displaced persons nor do they constitute, as such, a binding instrument. However, they ‘reflect and are consistent with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.’59  They aim to provide practical guidance to all those dealing with internally displaced persons. They will guide the Representative of the Secretary- General in carrying out his mandate and provide him with a means for assessing specific situations of displacement. They should also guide States faced with problems of internal displacement, as well as other authorities, groups and persons. It also promises to be of use to inter- governmental and non- governmental organisations in fulfilling their mandates.

If one day, these principles get some authority, it is authority drawn from the underlying hard law which they reflect, as well as the fact that they help to improve the often tragic fate affecting the internally displaced all over the world.60 

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