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Phil Orchard

The concept of ‘safe areas’ emerged in the early 1990s as a way of responding to increasing displacement triggered by internal conflicts. As a form of protection, their record was mixed—for every success like northern Iraq in 1991, there was a failure like the collapse of the Srebrenica safe area in 1995. But why did the safe area concept itself emerge at this time? Traditionally, safe areas were akin to humanitarian spaces anchored in consent. The shift in the early 1990s was to replace consent with an international military presence, including military forces and peacekeepers. This article argues that this shift was only possible because of two critical changes which occurred within the United Nations: the recognition that civilian protection represented an international problem and the UN Security Council broadening how it interpreted the notion of ‘threats to international peace and security’ to include issues such as forced migrant flows.

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Phil Orchard

Abstract

Regime-Induced Displacement – when governments deliberately use coercive tactics to cause mass displacement – is an increasing phenomenon. It is a problem for the international community because these situations challenge the ability of international and non-governmental organisations to provide the displaced with basic levels of protection and assistance. Yet even while these crises frequently cross the threshold envisioned in the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, the Security Council has generally avoided direct interventions, as the ongoing crisis in Darfur demonstrates. This paper argues that this is not new behaviour. Rather, even the two most notable interventions to protect the displaced in these situations – the US-led military deployment in Northern Iraq in 1991 and the NATO-led intervention in Kosovo – were driven by circumstances and politics outside of the Council. This suggests that even as regime-induced displacement is increasing, the likelihood of seeing the Security Council use the R2P doctrine to protect the displaced without reform is negligible.

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Phil Orchard

Forcible displacement can constitute a mass atrocity crime. This is something that is considered within the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Efforts to implement the Guiding Principles at the regional level suggest one path to implement stronger legal protections for internally displaced persons (idps), in particular, against mass atrocity crimes. These regional processes, however, can vary in remarkable ways. In the African Union, the Kampala Convention has brought the Guiding Principles and protections against mass atrocity crimes directed at idps into regional hard law; it also includes robust implementation and enforcement mechanisms. At this stage, however, these mechanisms remain anticipatory rather than effective; consequently international assistance will be vital to entrench the rights anchored in the Convention. By contrast, asean has introduced no overt protections for idps. However, its developing legal human rights framework through the asean Declaration of Human Rights, coupled with the Association’s response to the Rohingya idp crisis in Myanmar, suggests that a policy-focused change, while incremental, may be happening.

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Orchard Phil

Abstract

Forcible displacement can constitute a mass atrocity crime. This is something that is considered within the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Efforts to implement the Guiding Principles at the regional level suggest one path to implement stronger legal protections for internally displaced persons (idps), in particular, against mass atrocity crimes. These regional processes, however, can vary in remarkable ways. In the African Union, the Kampala Convention has brought the Guiding Principles and protections against mass atrocity crimes directed at idps into regional hard law; it also includes robust implementation and enforcement mechanisms. At this stage, however, these mechanisms remain anticipatory rather than effective; consequently international assistance will be vital to entrench the rights anchored in the Convention. By contrast, asean has introduced no overt protections for idps. However, its developing legal human rights framework through the asean Declaration of Human Rights, coupled with the Association’s response to the Rohingya idp crisis in Myanmar, suggests that a policy-focused change, while incremental, may be happening.

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Vickie Frater and Phil Orchard

Counting forced migrants runs into a number of hurdles related to their classification, to their experience of flight, and to the need to use myriad sources of data from governments, international organisations, and non-governmental organisations. To complicate matters, three organisations have mandates to count different groups – the un Relief Works Agency (unrwa) for Palestine refugees, the un High Commission for Refugees (unhcr) for refugees more generally, and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (idmc) for internally displaced persons (idps). All three face a range of common challenges in carrying out this vital aspect of their respective mandates. These include conceptual challenges, political concerns, competing interests and access. They also face their own political and institutional challenges, leading to individualised approaches and variance across and even within the organisations. In spite of these complexities, there have been significant improvements in the reliability of data and new technologies and registration methods are providing a way forward to a better understanding of forced migrant movements.