Practice Relating to Rule 131. Treatment of Displaced Persons
Section B. Security of displaced persons
In 2005, in its Seventh Human Rights Policy Report submitted to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament), Germany’s Federal Government stated:
A particular problem is the large group of internally displaced persons; since refugees in the sense of the Geneva Refugee Convention are only persons who in their flight have crossed an international border, the Convention and its protective regime is not applicable to internally displaced persons. For their protection, international humanitarian law (in the case of armed conflicts) and human rights norms (e.g. ICCPR [1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], ICESCR [1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights] and Convention on the Rights of the Child) are decisive. The main problem of internally displaced persons is the factor that the State as such responsible for their protection, whose territory they have not left, often cannot grant that protection due to circumstance of (civil) war or other circumstances and often even causes the internal displacement. Even provisions meant to guarantee access of internally displaced persons to humanitarian assistance often fail due to the objection of the respective State …
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.