Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Statement 179

Human Rights Council 16th Session

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons

Australian statement
7 March 2011

Forced displacement is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. It compromises the enjoyment of all fundamental freedoms and basic human rights. The vulnerability that IDPs face threatens their safety and security in the most concerning of ways.

Australia takes this opportunity to thank the previous representative of the Secretary General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Walter Kalin for his exceptional efforts in further IDP protection globally. We congratulate Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani on his appointment and look forward to working closely with him into the future.

Australia welcomes the significant achievement that is the normative framework founded in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The mandate’s work on durable solutions, and operational guidelines for protecting IDPs in situations of natural disaster, and in integrating displacement issues into peace processes and agreements have been extremely useful including in relation to standard setting for the delivery of aid.

Australia also deeply appreciates ongoing mandate capacity building, including in partnership with the Brookings-Bern Project and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre in Geneva. The mandate’s efforts to mainstream effective responses to forced displacement, in close coordination with OCHA and UNHCR is particularly important.

Australia congratulates the mandate on its work with the African Union on its Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in October 2009. This is a major achievement, representing the only legally binding regional agreement on internal displacement and setting an important benchmark for other regional responses.

Australia looks forward to the mandate extending its work into IDP protection and climate change; increased protection for displaced women and girls; and better protection for IDPs outside camp settings. Host communities who shelter the vast majority of IDPs deserve special recognition and support for their generosity and care. We look forward to the Special Rapporteur’s advice on how we may collectively better assist IDP host communities in situations of armed conflict and natural disaster.