United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons
Section B. Security of displaced persons
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides: “To the greatest practicable extent, removals of civil inhabitants must take place under satisfactory conditions of … safety.”
In 1991, the United Kingdom put forward the idea of creating safe areas for displaced persons in Iraq, especially Kurds, in the aftermath of the Gulf War. The United Kingdom assisted in the establishment of these safe areas and supplied troops in order to ensure the security of the sites.
In 2003, in reply to a question in the House of Commons on “people internally displaced as a result of the conflict in Iraq”, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We have talked to the various NGOs that may have to deal with some of the IDPs [internally displaced persons], and to the countries that may be affected as people try to move towards their borders. We have been seeking agreements with other countries about how they will respond to the refugees coming towards their borders. We have also been talking to the military, who will obviously come across IDPs very quickly. We have discussed how they will ensure that those people’s safety is guaranteed and how they will ensure that IDPs get the humanitarian aid that they need as quickly as possible.
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning representations made to the Government of Sudan, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
We … regularly raise the need for it to ensure the protection of all civilians – including displaced persons – in Darfur, and to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, including on the need for all returns to be voluntary and appropriate.