Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons

Note: For practice concerning the reunion of dispersed families, see Rule 105, Section B.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 49, third paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, … that members of the same family are not separated”. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 49, third para.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 9 of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child provides:
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence.
2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.
3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.
4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned. 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 44/25, 20 November 1989, Article 9.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 22 of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child requires States parties “to protect and assist … [refugee children] and to trace the parents or other members of the family of any refugee children in order to obtain information necessary for reunification with his or her family”. 
Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 44/25, 20 November 1989, Article 22.
Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs
In the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs, the parties agreed that:
In accordance with the fundamental principle of preserving family unity, where it is not possible for families to repatriate as units, a mechanism shall be established for their reunification in Abkhazia. Measures shall also be taken for the identification and extra care/assistance for unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable persons during the repatriation process. 
Quadripartite Agreement on Voluntary Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in the Republic of Georgia, between the Abkhaz and Georgian Sides, the Russian Federation and UNHCR, Moscow, 4 April 1994, annexed to Letter dated 5 April 1994 from the permanent representative of Georgia to the UN addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN Doc. S/1994/397, 5 April 1994, Annex II.
Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords
According to Article 1 of the 1995 Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords, “the principle of the unity of the family shall be preserved”. 
General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Annex 7, Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, signed by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Dayton, 22 November 1995, Article 1.
Kampala Convention
Article 9(2)(h) of the 2009 Kampala Convention imposes an obligation on States Parties to:
Take necessary measures, including the establishment of specialized mechanisms, to trace and reunify families separated during the displacement and otherwise facilitate the re-establishment of family ties. 
African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, adopted in Kampala, Uganda, 23 October 2009, Article 9(2)(h).
In Article 7, the Convention prohibits members of armed groups, defined as “dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups that are distinct from the armed forces of the state”, from “separating members of the same family”. 
African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, adopted in Kampala, Uganda, 23 October 2009, Article 7(5)(c).
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
Principle 17(3) of the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provides:
Families which are separated by displacement should be reunited as quickly as possible. All appropriate steps shall be taken to expedite the reunion of such families, particularly when children are involved. The responsible authorities shall facilitate inquiries made by family members and encourage and cooperate with the work of humanitarian organizations engaged in the task of family reunification. 
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2, 11 February 1998, Principle 17(3).
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1969) reproduces Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, RC-46-1, Público, II Edición 1969, Ejército Argentino, Edición original aprobado por el Comandante en Jefe del Ejército, 9 May 1967, § 5.008.
Argentina
Argentina’s Law of War Manual (1989) provides: “When there is an evacuation, measures shall be taken to facilitate the return of children to their families.” 
Argentina, Leyes de Guerra, PC-08-01, Público, Edición 1989, Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas, aprobado por Resolución No. 489/89 del Ministerio de Defensa, 23 April 1990, § 4.12.
Brazil
Brazil’s Operations Manual for the Evacuation of Non-Combatants (2007) states:
7.4.1 In case the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not state who is to be evacuated with priority, the Joint Command shall follow this guidance:
b) the table below sets out who shall be evacuated with priority.
Categories
I - Brazilian citizens.
II - Non-Brazilians who are close relatives of Brazilian citizens.
7.4.3 Rules of Procedure
The following rules of procedure shall be observed in Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation:
(i) persons who have high priority [to be evacuated] may choose to be reclassified into a lower priority in order not to be separated from their family. In case a person has to be evacuated for medical reasons, the whole family shall be evacuated together with him or her.
7.5 Support on Arrival in Brazilian Territory
7.5.1 The safe place of destination is the place designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where the evacuated persons shall be taken by the end of the Non-Combatant Evacuation. It shall preferably be situated in Brazil … The reception in Brazil of the evacuated persons requires that some support activities are undertaken, such as:
f) public relation tasks, in particular … the liaison with evacuated persons’ relatives and close friends. 
Brazil, Manual de Operações de Evacuação de Não-Combatentes, Ministério da Defesa, Estado-Maior de Defesa, MD33-M-08, Ordinance No. 1351/EMD/MD of 11 October 2007, published in Diário Oficial da União, No. 198, 15 October 2007, §§ 7.4.1(b), 7.4.3(i), 7.5 and 7.5.1(f).
The Operations Manual also states:
1.2.1 Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations are conducted by the Ministry of Defence, upon request by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the evacuation of non-combatants whose lives are in danger, from their host country to a safe place of destination …
3.4.1 Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations … may be triggered by sudden changes in the government of the host country, changes in its political or military orientation with regard to Brazil, or hostile threats to Brazilian citizens by internal or external forces in that country.
Annex A. Rules of Engagement and the Law of Armed Conflict
3. The Law of Armed Conflict
According to the policy of the Ministry of Defence, the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict regulate the actions taken by the Joint Command in the defence of its personnel, property and equipment. 
Brazil, Manual de Operações de Evacuação de Não-Combatentes, Ministério da Defesa, Estado-Maior de Defesa, MD33-M-08, Ordinance No. 1351/EMD/MD of 11 October 2007, published in Diário Oficial da União, No. 198, 15 October 2007, §§ 1.2.1 and 3.4.1, and Annex A, § 3.
Burundi
Burundi’s Regulations on International Humanitarian Law (2007) states that “the Occupying Power, when carrying out evacuations [of the civilian population of the occupied territory], must ensure … to the extent possible … that members of the same family are not separated from one another”. 
Burundi, Règlement n° 98 sur le droit international humanitaire, Ministère de la Défense Nationale et des Anciens Combattants, Projet “Moralisation” (BDI/B-05), August 2007, Part I bis, p. 108.
Côte d’Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire’s Teaching Manual (2007) provides in Book III, Volume 1 (Instruction of first-year trainee officers):
IV.3.3. Total or partial evacuation of the civilian population
With respect to evacuations, additional limitations apply in occupied territory. …
The occupying power which undertakes these transfers or evacuations must guarantee, to the greatest practicable extent … that members of the same family are not separated. 
Côte d’Ivoire, Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre III, Tome 1: Instruction de l’élève officier d’active de 1ère année, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 52; see also Droit de la guerre, Manuel d’instruction, Livre IV: Instruction du chef de section et du commandant de compagnie, Manuel de l’élève, Ministère de la Défense, Forces Armées Nationales, November 2007, p. 74.
Croatia
Croatia’s LOAC Compendium (1991) provides that in case of an evacuation of civilian persons, there shall be “no forced separation of families”. 
Croatia, Compendium “Law of Armed Conflicts”, Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Defence, 1991, p. 62.
Germany
Germany’s Military Manual (1992) provides that in case of an evacuation, “members of the same family shall not be separated”. 
Germany, Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts – Manual, DSK VV207320067, edited by The Federal Ministry of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, VR II 3, August 1992, English translation of ZDv 15/2, Humanitäres Völkerrecht in bewaffneten KonfliktenHandbuch, August 1992, § 545.
Hungary
Hungary’s Military Manual (1992) provides that in case of an evacuation of civilian persons, there shall be “no forced separation of families”. 
Hungary, A Hadijog, Jegyzet a Katonai, Föiskolák Hallgatói Részére, Magyar Honvédség Szolnoki Repülötiszti Föiskola, 1992, p. 98.
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (1996) reproduces Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Publicación OR7-004, 2 Tomos, aprobado por el Estado Mayor del Ejército, Division de Operaciones, 18 March 1996, Vol. I, § 5.5.c.(5).
Spain
Spain’s LOAC Manual (2007) reproduces Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
Spain, Orientaciones. El Derecho de los Conflictos Armados, Tomo 1, Publicación OR7–004, (Edición Segunda), Mando de Adiestramiento y Doctrina, Dirección de Doctrina, Orgánica y Materiales, 2 November 2007, § 5.5.c.(5).
Switzerland
Switzerland’s Basic Military Manual (1987) provides: “Displacements are effected in satisfactory conditions … and the members of the same family are not separated”. 
Switzerland, Lois et coutumes de la guerre (Extrait et commentaire), Règlement 51.7/II f, Armée Suisse, 1987, Article 176(2).
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The UK Military Manual (1958) provides that in case of transfer or evacuation, “members of the same family must not be separated”. 
United Kingdom, The Law of War on Land being Part III of the Manual of Military Law, The War Office, HMSO, 1958, § 560.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
According to the UK LOAC Manual (2004), one of the conditions for the permissibility of an evacuation of an occupied area is that “to the greatest extent practicable … members of the same family are not separated.” 
United Kingdom, The Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, Ministry of Defence, 1 July 2004, § 11.55 11 .
United States of America
The US Field Manual (1956) reproduces Article 49 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV. 
United States, Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare, US Department of the Army, 18 July 1956, as modified by Change No. 1, 15 July 1976, § 382.
Angola
Angola’s Rules on the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Populations (2001) provides:
It is the responsibility of the Provincial Governments, through the Sub-Groups on Displaced Persons and Refugees of the Provincial Humanitarian Coordination Groups, to carry out the following:
h) To take appropriate measures to ensure family reunification. 
Angola, Rules on the Resettlement of Internally Displaced Populations, 2001, Article 2(h).
Armenia
Armenia’s Law on Refugees and Asylum (2008) states:
In cases of … unaccompanied minor asylum seeker(s) or minor asylum seeker(s) [being] separated from their family … the Authorised Body … must initiate the tracing of the child’s parents or other relatives for the purpose of family unification, except in cases when such tracing and unification is not in the interests of the child. 
Armenia, Law on Refugees and Asylum, 2008, Article 50(1).
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Colombia
According to Colombia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (1997), the family of forcibly displaced persons must benefit from the right to family reunification. 
Colombia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 1997, Article 2(4).
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
Georgia
Georgia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (2014) states: “All IDPs [internally displaced persons] have the right to respect [for] family unity. Family shall not be artificially disintegrated or united against the will of family members.” 
Georgia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 2014, Article 13(1).
The Law on Internally Displaced Persons (2014) defines an internally displaced person as follows:
A citizen of Georgia or a stateless person with a status residing in Georgia shall be considered as an IDP, if he/she was forced to leave his/her permanent place of residence because of threat to his/her or his/her family member[s’] life, health or freedom caused by the occupation of the territory by a foreign state, aggression, armed conflict, mass violence and/or massive human rights violations and/or he/she cannot return to his/her permanent place of residence due to the above mentioned reasons. 
Georgia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 2014, Article 6(1).
Guinea
Guinea’s Children’s Code (2008) states: “During an armed conflict, measures for temporary evacuation of children as a result of hostilities shall be taken in accordance with the rules of International Humanitarian Law, particularly with regard to … preserving family unity.” 
Guinea, Children’s Code, 2008, Article 437.
Ireland
Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, provides that any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention IV, as well as any “contravention” of the 1977 Additional Protocol II, including violations of Article 4(3)(b), are punishable offences. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … [and in] the two additional protocols to these Conventions … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108.
Peru
Peru’s Law on Internal Displacement (2004) states: “The authorities responsible for the … [forced] displacement shall ensure to the greatest practicable extent … that members of the same family are not separated.” 
Peru, Law on Internal Displacement, 2004, Article 8(2).
Peru
Peru’s Regulations to the Law on Internal Displacement (2005) states:
Internally displaced persons who return to their places of habitual residence or who have resettled in another part of the country have a right to:
ñ) Family unity even when the persons are interned in camps for internally displaced persons. 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on Internal Displacement, 2005, Article 6(ñ).
Philippines
The Act on Child Protection (1992) of the Philippines provides:
All appropriate steps shall be taken to facilitate the reunion of families temporarily separated due to armed conflict …
Whenever possible, members of the same family shall be housed in the same premises and given separate accommodation from other evacuees and be provided with facilities to lead a normal family life. 
Philippines, Act on Child Protection, 1992, Sections 22(f) and 23.
No data.
Chad
In 2007, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Chad stated:
235. Chad is having to cope with an influx of refugees as a result of the conflicts which broke out in 2003 in Darfur and the Central African Republic.
236. In 2005, the east of the country was sheltering 220,000 refugees from Darfur, 60 per cent of them aged under 18.
237. In the south, Chad is sheltering some 40,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. Some 5,500 refugees are estimated to be living in urban areas. They are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Rwanda, as well as from Sudan and the Central African Republic.
239. In the case of unaccompanied children, arrangements for identification … , family search and family reunification have been put in place. 
Chad, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 14 December 2007, UN Doc. CRC/C/TCD/2, submitted 7 June 2007, §§ 235–237 and 239.
Germany
In 2005, in its Seventh Human Rights Policy Report submitted to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), Germany’s Federal Government stated:
With the 1998 guidelines on the handling of crises related to internally displaced persons (“Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement”) by the then Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Francis Deng, the international community has a practice-oriented document, which summarizes existing standards on the protection of internally displaced persons and gives further recommendations. Although these guiding principles are not a binding instrument under international law, their acceptance by States, international organizations and NGOs has continued to grow over the past years, so that now they are virtually regarded as customary international law. 
Germany, Federal Government, Seventh Human Rights Policy Report, 17 June 2005, pp. 97–98.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
In 1996, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) stated:
Issues of refugee children in the Lao PDR have not been recorded in statistics by age group or number. During the war, displacement of Lao children from one locality to another or from one province to another within the country caused few social problems, as according to Lao custom, these children usually stayed with their relatives. The exact number of Lao children who took refuge abroad and subsequently returned is unknown. 
Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 24 January 1996, UN Doc. CRC/C/8/Add.32, submitted 18 January 1996, § 160.
Nepal
In 2007, in its National Policies on Internally Displaced Persons, Nepal stated:
1. Background
Due to natural disasters, human-made circumstances and disasters, armed conflict and situations of violence and fears having [been] created therefrom, persons and families are forcefully displaced from their homes or places of their habitual residence and thus they are time and again required to face such situations that force them to reside in other parts of the country. …
3. Definition[s]:
For the purpose of these Policies:
(a) “Internally Displaced Person” means a person who is living somewhere else in the country after having [been] forced to flee or leave their home or place of habitual residence due to armed conflict or situation of violence or gross violations of human rights or natural disasters or human-made disasters … or with an intention of avoiding the effects of such situations.
8.3 Regarding … [Reintegration]
8.3.1 Displaced persons or families will have the freedom of returning voluntarily to the places of their permanent … [residence] from where they were … [originally] displaced or of residing in the place of current … [residence] or … [of rehabilitation] in other places of their choice within the country. Each of the displaced persons will be provided with opportunities to return to his/her place of habitual residence, … [rehabilitation] and also … integrating with their disintegrated family. 
Nepal, National Policies on Internally Displaced Persons, 22 February 2007, §§ 1, 3 and 8.3.1.
Nigeria
In 2008, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Nigeria stated:
The armed conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia caused an influx of refugees into Nigeria, the bulk of them are women and children. The National Commission for Refugees (NCR) maintains a camp in Oru, Ogun State …
… Refugee children enjoy equal rights as nationals with regards to all the rights enshrined in the CRC [1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child], for instance:
- Family Tracing: In 2006, in collaboration with the International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC), over 300 requests for family tracing were received from refugees in Nigeria and about 265 messages from other countries were distributed in the camp.  
Nigeria, Combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 5 January 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/NGA/3-4, submitted 19 May 2008, § 8.2.1.
Philippines
The Guidelines on Evacuations adopted by the Presidential Human Rights Committee of the Philippines in 1991 provides: “In case of evacuations members of the same family must not be separated from each other.” 
Philippines, Presidential Human Rights Committee, Resolution No. 91-001 Providing for Guidelines on Evacuations, Manila, 26 March 1991, § 1.
Tajikistan
In 2008, in its second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Tajikistan stated: “Over the last 10 years, the conflict in Afghanistan has driven about a thousand Afghans to seek refuge in Tajikistan.” 
Tajikistan, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2 April 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/TJK/2, submitted 21 February 2008, § 8.
In the report, Tajikistan also stated:
540. The refugee children come from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. …
548. The migration service of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has set up a group of four people to deal with the problems of refugee children. …
549. The group in question seeks to reunite refugee children with their parents and other family members. Recently, acting in close cooperation with United Nations agencies and inter-governmental organizations, the group succeeded in finding several children in the city of Rostov-on-Don and reuniting them with their family. 
Tajikistan, Second periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2 April 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/TJK/2, submitted 21 February 2008, §§ 540 and 548–549.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1996 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon States and United Nations bodies and other organizations to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children and to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 51/77, 12 December 1996, Section III, § 42, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1997 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
Expresses its deep concern about the growing number of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, and calls upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 52/107, 12 December 1997, Section V, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1998 on the rights of the child, the UN General Assembly:
Expresses its deep concern about the growing number of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, and calls upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies to ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 53/128, 9 December 1998, Section V, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on assistance to unaccompanied refugee minors, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in cooperation with other relevant United Nations bodies, to incorporate into its programmes policies that aim at preventing the separation of refugee families, conscious of the importance of family unity. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/150, 22 December 2003, § 4, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1997 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies:
To ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1997/78, 18 April 1997, § 16(b), adopted without a vote; UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/76, 22 April 1998, § 17(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1998 on the rights of the child, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all States and United Nations bodies and agencies, in coordination with other international humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross:
To ensure the early identification and registration of unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children, to give priority to programmes for family tracing and reunification, and to continue monitoring the care arrangements for unaccompanied refugee and internally displaced children. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1998/76, 22 April 1998, § 17(b), adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the abduction of children in Africa, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon African States:
To take adequate measures to prevent the abduction and recruitment of children by armed forces and armed groups and their participation in hostilities, through, inter alia, … practical measures such as prompt and comprehensive birth registration of all children (including refugee and internally displaced children), documentation of children, preservation of family unity and its facilitation in case of separation. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2005/43, 19 April 2005, § 5(c), adopted without a vote.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
In 1981, in its Conclusion on Family Reunification, the UNHCR Executive Committee stressed that every effort should be made to ensure the reunification of separated families. 
UNHCR, Executive Committee, Conclusion No. 24 (XXXII): Family Reunification, UN Doc. A/AC.96/60, 22 October 1981, § 1.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
In 1997, in its Conclusion on Refugee Children and Adolescents, the UNHCR Executive Committee urged “States and concerned parties to take all possible measures to protect child and adolescent refugees, inter alia, by: (i) preventing separation of children and adolescent refugees from their families and promoting … family reunification”. 
UNHCR, Executive Committee, Conclusion No. 84 (XLVIII): Refugee Children and Adolescents, UN Doc. A/AC.96/895, 20 October 1997, § b(i).
UN Secretary-General
In 1998, in his report on unaccompanied refugee minors, which included a discussion on internally displaced children, the UN Secretary-General concluded:
On a daily basis, in crisis settings such as those currently in Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Kosovo, children trapped in and fleeing from war zones were involuntarily separated from their families … Member States are urged to adhere to and promote the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to support measures that will avoid involuntary family separation. 
UN Secretary-General, Report on unaccompanied refugee minors, UN Doc. A/53/325, 26 August 1998, § 27.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1996, in a report on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights stated that the Croatian Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees had advised the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights “that emphasis in the immediate future will be placed on applications for return from relatives of elderly Serbs remaining in the former sectors, who required the assistance of younger family members to lead a normal life”. The Special Rapporteur also noted: “Some 12,000 Croatian Serb refugees have received the permission to return … mostly on the basis of family reunification or proof of citizenship.” 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Periodic report, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/9, 22 October 1996, §§ 50–51; see also Special periodic report on minorities, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/8, 25 October 1996, § 128.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
In 1992, in two joint statements on the evacuation of children from the former Yugoslavia, UNHCR and UNICEF highlighted the needs of families during emergency evacuations, in particular the need to respect family unity as a guiding principle in all evacuation operations. They also stated that where families were separated during the process, “evacuations, reception and care should be planned with a view to the earliest possible reunification between parents and children”.  
UNHCR and UNICEF, Joint statement on the evacuation of children from former Yugoslavia, 13 August 1992, § 5; Joint statement No. 2 supported by the ICRC and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 16 December 1992, § 2.
United Nations Children’s Fund
In 1992, in two joint statements on the evacuation of children from the former Yugoslavia, UNHCR and UNICEF highlighted the needs of families during emergency evacuations, in particular the need to respect family unity as a guiding principle in all evacuation operations. They also stated that where families were separated during the process, “evacuations, reception and care should be planned with a view to the earliest possible reunification between parents and children”. 
UNHCR and UNICEF, Joint statement on the evacuation of children from former Yugoslavia, 13 August 1992, § 5; Joint statement No. 2 supported by the ICRC and the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, 16 December 1992, § 2.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in 1992 concerning displaced populations in the former Yugoslavia, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called upon member States to take urgent measures “to assist unaccompanied children, victims of the crisis, to withstand the distress and reunite with their families”. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 1176, 5 February 1992, § iii.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In 1994, in a report on Rwanda, the Rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly emphasized that particular attention should be paid to the problems experienced by unaccompanied children during internal displacement. He recommended that schemes to register such children and to help them reunite with their families, such as the “Radio-Link BBC-Rwanda” established by the ICRC, be encouraged. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Report on Rwanda, Doc. 7191, 4 November 1994, § 11.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1981)
The 24th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1981 adopted a Statement of Policy on International Red Cross Aid to Refugees, which provided:
The Central Tracing Agency of the ICRC is also always ready in co-operation with National Societies to act in aid of refugees and displaced persons, for instance by facilitating the reuniting of dispersed families, by organizing the exchange of family news and by tracing missing persons. Where necessary, it offers its cooperation to the UNHCR, as well as its technical assistance to National Societies to enable them to set up and develop their own tracing and mailing services. 
24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Manila, 7–14 November 1981, Res. XXI, Annex, Statement of Policy on International Red Cross Aid to Refugees, § 9.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1986)
The 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986 adopted a resolution on the protection of children in armed conflicts in which it referred to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two 1977 Additional Protocols and recommended that “all necessary measures be taken to preserve the unity of the family and to facilitate the reuniting of families”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. IX, § 5.
International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (1995)
The 26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 1995 adopted a resolution on protection of the civilian population in period of armed conflict in which it demanded that all parties to armed conflict avoid any action aimed at, or having the effect of, causing the separation of families in a manner contrary to international humanitarian law. In the same resolution, it also appealed to States to “do their utmost to solve the serious humanitarian issue of dispersed families without delay” and emphasized that “family reunification must begin with the tracing of separated family members at the request of one of them and end with their coming together as a family”. 
26th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, Geneva, 3–7 December 1995, Res. II, § D(a), (b) and (c).
Committee on the Rights of the Child
In 1997, in its concluding observations on the report of Myanmar, the Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Myanmar “reinforce its central tracing agency to favour family reunification”. 
Committee on the Rights of the Child, Concluding observations on the report of Myanmar, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add. 69, 24 January 1997, § 40.
ICRC
To fulfil its task of disseminating IHL, the ICRC has delegates around the world teaching armed and security forces that: “The occupying power undertaking evacuation shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, … that members of the same family are not separated”. 
Frédéric de Mulinen, Handbook on the Law of War for Armed Forces, ICRC, Geneva, 1987, § 836.
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards
The Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights of Åbo Akademi University in Turku/Åbo, Finland in 1990, states: “Every effort shall be made to enable those so displaced who wish to remain together to do so. Families whose members wish to remain together must be allowed to do so.” 
Turku Declaration of Minimum Humanitarian Standards, adopted by an expert meeting convened by the Institute for Human Rights, Åbo Akademi University, Turku/Åbo, 30 November–2 December 1990, Article 7(1), IRRC, No. 282, p. 333.