Internally displaced persons

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1997/39


The Commission on Human Rights,

Deeply disturbed by the alarmingly high numbers of internally displaced persons throughout the world who receive inadequate protection and assistance, and conscious of the serious problem this is creating for the international community,

Noting with concern that many serious situations of internal displacement do not receive sufficient attention and response,

Conscious of the human rights and humanitarian dimensions of the problem of internally displaced persons and the responsibilities this poses for States and the international community to explore methods and means better to address their protection and assistance needs,

Recalling the relevant norms of international human rights instruments, international humanitarian law and analogous refugee law,

Recalling the emphasis in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23) on the need to develop global strategies to address the problem of internal displacement,

Bearing in mind General Assembly resolutions 49/169 of 23 December 1994 and 50/195 of 22 December 1996 and, in particular, the call by the GeneralAssembly upon the Commission to consider the question of establishing an appropriate legal framework for the internally displaced, on the basis of the report of the representative of the Secretary-General,

Recognizing that the protection of internally displaced persons would be strengthened by identifying, reaffirming and consolidating specific rights for their protection,

Welcoming the cooperation established between the representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, the Department of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Programme, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross and other relevant international and regional organizations and agencies,

Reaffirming the finding of the representative of the Secretary-General that a central coordination mechanism to assign responsibilities is essential in emergency situations where the Government of the country concerned is unable to discharge its normal responsibilities, and welcoming in this context the establishment, by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, of the Task Force on Internally Displaced Persons,

Welcoming the decision by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee to invite the representative of the Secretary-General to participate in its relevant meetings, as well as in its Task Force, and encouraging further strengthening of this collaboration in order to promote better assistance, protection and development strategies for internally displaced persons,

Recalling its resolution 1996/52 of 19 April 1996,

1. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons (E/CN.4/1997/43 andAdd.1);

2. Commends the representative of the Secretary-General for the activities undertaken so far, despite the limited resources available to him, and for the catalytic role he continues to play to raise the level of consciousness about the plight of internally displaced persons;

3. Expresses its appreciation to those Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations which have provided assistance and protection to internally displaced persons and have supported the work of the representative of the Secretary-General, urges them to continue to do so and calls upon others to provide support for the efforts of the representative;

4. Encourages the representative of the Secretary-General through continuous dialogue with Governments and all intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations concerned to continue his analysis of the causes of internal displacement, the needs of those displaced, measures of prevention and ways to strengthen protection, assistance and solutions for the internally displaced, taking into account specific situations;

5. Recalls the compilation and analysis of legal norms submitted by the representative of the Secretary-General, which concludes that, while present international law covers many aspects of particular relevance to internally displaced persons, there are several significant areas in which the law fails to provide sufficient protection;

6. Encourages the representative of the Secretary-General to continue, on the basis of his compilation and analysis of legal norms, to develop a comprehensive framework for the protection of internally displaced persons, takes note of his preparations for guiding principles to this end, and requests the representative to report thereon to the Commission at its fifty-fourth session;

7. Emphasizes the need for better implementation of existing international law applicable to internally displaced persons;

8. Requests the Secretary-General to ensure the rapid publication, in all the United Nations working languages, and wide dissemination of the compilation and analysis of legal norms submitted by his representative and encourages Governments to translate it into other languages;

9. Welcomes the specific attention paid by the representative of the Secretary-General to the special assistance, protection and development needs of internally displaced women and children and encourages him to continue to address these needs;

10. Thanks Governments which have invited the representative of the Secretary-General to visit their countries and invites them to give due consideration, in their dialogue with the representative, to his recommendations and suggestions and to make available information on measures taken thereon;

11. Calls upon all Governments to facilitate the activities of the representative of the Secretary-General, in particular those Governments with situations of internal displacement which have not yet extended invitations or responded positively to requests for information from the representative;

12. Commends the representative of the Secretary-General for his efforts to promote a comprehensive strategy for better protection, assistance and development for internally displaced persons, and looks forward to the comprehensive study being prepared by him and to the recommendations therein;

13. Encourages the representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Development Programme, the Department for Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the International Committee of the Red Cross and all other relevant humanitarian assistance and development organizations further to enhance their collaboration by developing frameworks of cooperation to promote protection, assistance and development for internally displaced persons;

14. Urges these organizations, especially through the Inter-Agency Standing Committee and its Task Force on Internally Displaced Persons, to continue to focus on problems relating to and solutions for internally displaced persons, including the setting up of a more comprehensive and coherent system of collecting data on their situation, and to strengthen their collaboration with the representative of the Secretary-General;

15. Welcomes the initiatives undertaken by regional organizations, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization of African Unity and the Organization of American States, to address the assistance, protection and development needs of internally displaced persons, and encourages them to strengthen these activities and their cooperation with the representative;

16. Welcomes the attention paid by relevant rapporteurs, working groups, experts and treaty bodies to issues of internal displacement, and calls upon them to continue to seek information on situations which have already created or could create internal displacement and to include relevant information and recommendations thereon in their reports and make them available to the representative of the Secretary-General;

17. Calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to develop projects, in cooperation with Governments, relevant international organizations and the representative of the Secretary-General, to promote the human rights of internally displaced persons, as part of the programme of advisory services and technical cooperation, and to include in his report to the Commission information on their implementation;

18. Requests the Secretary-General to provide his representative, from within existing resources, with all necessary assistance to carry out his mandate effectively, and encourages the representative of the Secretary-General to continue to seek the contribution of local, national and regional institutions;

19. Decides to continue its consideration of the question at its fifty-fourth session.

57th meeting
11 April 1997

[Adopted without a vote. See chap. IX.]



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