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Internal Displacement, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the Principles Normative Status, and the Need for their Effective Domestic Implementation in Colombia

Author(s): Robert K. Goldman

Journal: ACDI : Anuario Colombiano de Derecho Internacional
ISSN 2027-1131

Volume: 2;
Start page: 59;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Internally displaced persons | guiding principles on internal displacement

The paper briefl y examines the phenomenon of internal displacementworld-wide and the genesis of the United Nation’s mandate to dealwith this problem. It examines key conclusions of a UN sponsored studywhich found that existing international law contained signifi cant gaps and grey areas in terms of meeting the needs of internally displaced persons.It also examines the origins and the content of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the normative status of thesePrinciples. It suggests that, while not binding as such on states, the Guiding Principles have nonetheless become the most authoritative expression of minimum international standards applicable to the internally displaced and that based on state practice many, if not all, of these principles may eventually become part of customaryinternational law. The paper also discusses the need for effective domestic implementation of the Guiding Principles, and examineshow governmental authorities, the Constitutional Court and civilsociety organizations in Colombia, as well as inter-governmental bodies, have responded to the crisis of internal displacement in the country. While noting the adequacy of Colombia’s legislative framework on internal displacement, the paper concludes that the State has not taken the measures required to prevent futuredisplacement or to effectively meet the protection and assistanceneeds of its displaced citizens.
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