UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons, Cecilia Jimenez presents annual report to global human rights body

UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons, Cecilia Jimenez presents annual report to global human rights body

Geneva, 3 July 2019 – The Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Cecilia Jimenez, presented her annual report on Internal Displacement and the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) at the 41sth session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“National human rights institutions have a critical role in promoting and protecting the human rights of IDPs and other displacement affected communities, raising the alarm for possible displacement and monitoring the rights of IDPs throughout their displacement”, said the Special Rapporteur in her report.

This is not least due to NHRIs’ broad human rights mandate and functions, their unique understanding of local situations, their access to different types of actors, their ability to mediate between government and communities, and their ability to intervene where violations of human rights occur.
As highlighted by the Special Rapporteur, NHRIs in Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Uganda and Ukraine, play prominent roles in addressing internal displacement, sometimes in partnership with humanitarian organizations. Some NHRIs have created dedicated focal points or units on IDPs; are active in protection clusters; develop internal guidance tools and expand their presence in locations requiring protection monitoring of displacement situations. Others have gathered data that can influence the actions of governmental and non-government actors.

“Internal displacement must be better understood as a human rights issue, as well as a humanitarian priority. NHRIs are ideally placed to advise on the application of rights-based approaches which offers strong pathways for protection and solutions for IDPs across a variety of issues.

We support your call for a clearer inclusion and stronger role for NHRIs alongside humanitarian and development counterparts as constant partners throughout all phases of displacement” said GANHRI’s Geneva-based representative Katharina Rose during the interactive debate with the Special Rapporteur.
The Special Rapporteur also noted, however, that the potential of NHRIs’ work on internal displacement is often constrained by limitations, including resources, funding and capacity, lack of access and political will from states. She called on States to ensure adequate funding to NHRIs while guarantee their independence and their free and unfettered access to all locations and communities affected by internal displacement, whilst providing appropriate security measures to ensure their safety.

The report was warmly welcomed by a range of UN member states as well as partners within the UN system including UNDP and UNHCR.

The Special Rapporteur’s annual report was the result of a long-term partnership between the Special Rappoteur and GANHRI and NHRIs across all regions. This included a series of global and regional consultations with NHRIs, jointly organized by the Special Rapporteur and GANHRI.
In her concluding remarks, the Special Rapporteur thanked GANHRI for the strong support to the mandate and encouraged all States to fully support their NHRIs in overcoming those challenges to continue protecting IDPs.