United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Practice Relating to Rule 129. The Act of Displacement
Section A. Forced displacement
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides: “In no circumstances may a protected person be transferred to a State where he has reason to fear persecution on account of his political opinions or religious beliefs.”
The manual further states:
The Occupant is forbidden, regardless of motive, to carry out individual or mass forcible transfers or deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to his own territory or to that of any other country.
According to the manual, “unlawful deportation is a grave breach of the Convention”.
The UK LOAC Manual (2004) states in its chapter on occupied territory:
The occupying power is forbidden to transfer forcibly or deport protected persons from an occupied country either to its own territory or to that of any other state … Unlawful deportation or transfer is a grave breach of the [1949 Geneva Convention IV].
In its chapter on internal armed conflict, the manual states: “It is prohibited to order the displacement of the civilian population for reasons related to the conflict, unless the security of the civilians involved or imperative military reasons so demand.”
In its chapter on enforcement of the law of armed conflict, the manual notes:
Grave breaches under the Geneva Conventions consist of any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant convention:
g. unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement.
The manual further notes:
Additional Protocol I extends the definition of grave breaches to include the following:
c. the following, when committed wilfully and in violation of the Conventions or the protocol:
(1) … the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory.
The UK Geneva Conventions Act (1957), as amended in 1995, punishes:
any person, whatever his nationality, who, whether in or outside the United Kingdom, commits, or aids, abets or procures the commission by any other person of, a grave breach of any of the [1949 Geneva] conventions or of [the 1977 Additional Protocol I].
Under the UK ICC Act (2001), it is a punishable offence to commit genocide as defined in Article 6(e) of the 1998 ICC Statute, a crime against humanity as defined in Article 7(1)(d) of the Statute, and a war crime as defined in Article 8(2)(a)(vii), (b)(viii) and (e)(viii) of the Statute.
In 1992 and 1993, during debates in the UN Security Council, the United Kingdom condemned the forced displacements in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the former Yugoslavia.
In 2003, in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated:
The Government believe that the deportation by the state of Israel of persons against whom no charges have been laid may be inconsistent with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including Article 147.
The UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (2010) states: “The forcible displacement of the civilian population is … prohibited unless required for the security of the population or imperative military reasons.”
In 2010, in a written answer to a question in the House of Lords concerning Israel, a UK Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stated: “The forcible transfer of people out of the OPTs [Occupied Palestinian Territories] for political reasons is illegal and in contravention of the provisions on deportation of civilians in Article 49 of the  Fourth Geneva Convention.”