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Submission to UN High Level Panel on Internal Displacement

By: Matthew Scott,
Submission of the Asia Pacific Academic Network on Disaster Displacement to the UN High Level Panel on Internal Displacement

In 2017, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law initiated a regional thematic study on internal displacement in the context of disasters and climate change across Asia and the Pacific as part of its wider programme on human rights and environment. Focusing on law, policy and practice in ten countries, and collaborating with academic partners from China, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the study adopted an expressly human rights-based approach grounded in the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Academics involved in the regional thematic study have formed the Asia Pacific Academic Network on Disaster Displacement, in whose name this submission is made. The following submission is based on insights gained from the study, including through consultations with international, regional and national actors. Some of the insights highlighted in this submission were also presented in various regional and national fora to validate them and gather feedback.

The focus of this submission is therefore on internal displacement in the context of disasters and climate change.

The submission addresses the points highlighted in the submission guidelines. The core of the submission emphasizes the importance of systematically integrating displacement into national and sub-national law, policy and practice through a combination of technical cooperation, capacity strengthening, targeted research, and institutional engagement that promotes a human rights-based approach whilst prioritizing measures that are practical, relevant and achievable in local context.

  1. Research examining displacement in the context of disasters and climate change should be promoted and facilitated, prioritizing support for academics working in countries with high levels of exposure and vulnerability to the phenomenon and carried out in a manner that is inclusive of diverse voices and sources of knowledge
  2. Technical cooperation supporting the systematic integration of displacement considerations into national and sub-national legal and policy frameworks should be promoted
  3. Capacity strengthening initiatives focusing on human rights-based approaches to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and land use planning should be promoted
  4. Identify, develop, promote and disseminate effective practices for ensuring the meaningful and effective participation of different groups of people (at risk of being) displaced in the context of disasters and climate change in decisions and processes that affect their lives
  5. Promote a human rights-based approach to data
  6. Universities should integrate displacement considerations into courses on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, sustainable development, land use planning and other related fields
  7. National human rights institutions should be encouraged and supported to address issues relating to internal displacement
  8. Regional and international human rights monitoring procedures should be encouraged to systematically address internal displacement

Read the full submission here: Academic Network Submission to HLP Internal Displacement 8 May 2020

For further information, please contact Dr Matthew Scott at

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