Tag: <span>1951 Convention</span>

Uprooted Appeals

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders are considered refugees, and are relatively protected by the refugee conventions signed by most states. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and its 1967 protocol give the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees an international legal basis to ensure the protection of refugees.

Banner of UN High Commissioner for Refugees – Geneva – Switzerland. By Adam Jones, Ph.D., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

However, those who are displaced within a country, as is the case currently for many in the Gaza Strip and in Ukraine, are not protected by the international refugee conventions.

Thus, displacement within a State poses a challenge to develop international norms, and ways to address the consequences of displacement, and the possibility to reintegrate their homes, though in the case of Gaza many of the homes have been destroyed.

Warsaw Central Station during Ukrainian refugee crisis in March 2022. By Kamil Czaiński, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

A need to provide protection and assistance to the uprooted.

Armed conflicts within States often reflect a crisis of identity within the State. This can occur when a State becomes monopolized by a dominant group to the exclusion or marginalization of other groups. There is a need to provide protection and assistance to the uprooted.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been able to act in some cases as has been true also for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which is mandated to protect civilians in war zones. The obligation to assist populations in immediate danger of starvation is largely recognized, and the UN World Food Program has been able to act. In some cases, nongovernmental humanitarian agencies have been able to be active.

However, each situation requires new negotiations and results differ.

United Nations World Food Programme Logo. By United Nations World Food Program, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The strategies to address mass displacement need to be broad and comprehensive.

Thus, what is essential is that there be predictable responses in situations of internal displacement and that attention be paid not only to material assistance but also to the human rights of those displaced. To be effective, strategies to address mass displacement need to be broad and comprehensive.

There is a need for political initiatives that seek to resolve the conflicts as the consequences often involve neighboring countries. Efforts must engage local groups, national institutions, and Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to prevent situations that lead to persons being uprooted. As the representatives of NGOs, we have an opportunity to discuss with other NGOs the most appropriate next steps for action.

Prof. René Wadlow is President of the Association of World Citizens.

Featured Image: Picture by Rosy / Bad Homburg / Germany en Pixabay