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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commemorates 20th Anniversary of the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Download logo

Today, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency, Government authorities, UN agencies and partners have renewed their commitment to finding and facilitating solutions to internal displacement.

At a high-level event in Juba on 4th September, a panel of experts and participants have discussed the need to build upon a participatory process for the development of a national law on internal displacement, and its full implementation by national authorities and stakeholders. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement – developed under the leadership of Dr Francis Deng and widely accepted as being the global standard for protecting and assisting internally displaced people (IDPs).

Each year millions of people are forced to leave their homes and are displaced due to conflicts, violence and human rights violations. The number of forcibly displaced people continued to rise throughout 2017, calling for increased humanitarian assistance worldwide.

South Sudan has experienced continued displacement since the internal conflict erupted in December 2013. By the end of July 2018, an estimated 1.84 million South Sudanese are internally displaced within the country while nearly 2.5 million have fled and remained displaced as refugees in neighbouring countries.

“Many South Sudanese have been uprooted more than once as they seek opportunities to restart their lives and risk being marginalised in the societies where they live. The consequences of our collective failure to resolve internal displacement can be devastating,” said the UNHCR Representative for South Sudan, Mr Johann Siffointe.

South Sudan has made positive efforts so far by becoming a member of the Protocol on Internal Displacement from the Great Lakes Pact, and there is an on-going process to ratify the Kampala Convention. The development of a national law on internal displacement would provide a concrete instrument to address the causes and challenges of internal displacement.

“Addressing the protection needs of the forcibly displaced and seeking solutions to their plight contribute to greater stability for South Sudan and whole regions. Therefore, UNHCR South Sudan will use the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles as an opportunity to support the Government to incorporate the Guiding Principles into their national legislation,” Mr Siffointe added.

During today’s panel discussion, participants proposed to enhance concrete activities that will facilitate and strengthen the participation of internally displaced people in the decisions that concern them and to develop national law and implementing regulations on internal displacement. Participants recommended as well actions to improve data collection and analysis on displacement situations and scale-up of the combined engagement of humanitarian and development agencies in finding sustainable solutions for the internally displaced.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
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