Practice Relating to Rule 132. Return of Displaced Persons

Note: For practice concerning non-discrimination in general, see Rule 88.
Convention Governing Refugee Problems in Africa
Article 5 of the 1969 Convention Governing Refugee Problems in Africa provides:
Refugees who voluntarily return to their country shall in no way be penalized for having left it for any of the reasons giving rise to refugee situations. Whenever necessary, an appeal shall be made … inviting refugees to return home and giving assurance that the new circumstances prevailing in their country of origin would enable them to return without risk and to take up a normal and peaceful life without fear of being disturbed or punished. 
Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, adopted by the Sixth Ordinary Session of the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Addis Ababa, 10 September 1969, Article 5.
Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs
In paragraph 3(a) of the 1994 Quadripartite Agreement on Georgian Refugees and IDPs, the parties agreed that “displaced persons/refugees have the right to return voluntarily to their places of origin or residence irrespective of their ethnic, social or political affiliation under conditions of complete safety, freedom and dignity”. 
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, § 3(a).
Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords
Articles I and II of the 1995 Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords stated:
Article I: Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons
The parties shall ensure that refugees and displaced persons are permitted to return in safety, without risk of harassment, intimidation, persecution or discrimination, particularly on account of their ethnic origin, religious belief, or political opinion.
… [T]he parties shall take immediately the following confidence building measures:
a. the repeal of domestic legislation and administrative practices with discriminatory intent or effect;
Article II: Creation of Suitable Conditions for Return
The parties shall not discriminate against returning refugees and displaced persons. 
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, Articles I and II.
Agreement of the Joint Working Group on Operational Procedures of Return
The 1997 Agreement of the Joint Working Group on Operational Procedures of Return stated:
The government of Croatia shall provide equal access and equal treatment for safe return, reconstruction, and other mechanisms specified … for all Croatian citizens who in 1991 resided in the Croatian Danube region … or who are currently living there. 
Agreement of the Joint Working Group on the Operational Procedures of Return between Croatia, UNTAES and UNHCR, Osijek, 23 April 1997, annexed to Letter dated 25 April 1997 from the permanent representative of Croatia to the UN addressed to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/1997/341, 28 April 1997.
Sarajevo Declaration on Humanitarian Treatment of Displaced Persons
The 1992 Sarajevo Declaration on Humanitarian Treatment of Displaced Persons affirmed that voluntary return with full guarantees of security and non-discrimination was the basic right of the displaced. 
Sarajevo Declaration on Humanitarian Treatment of Displaced Persons, signed by the parties to the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sarajevo, 11 April 1992, annexed to Report of the UN Secretary-General pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 749, UN Doc. S/23836, 24 April 1992, Annex III, pp. 12–13.
General Peace Agreement for Mozambique
The 1992 General Peace Agreement for Mozambique provided:
Mozambican refugees and displaced persons shall not forfeit any of the rights and freedoms of other citizens for having left their original place of residence … [and] shall be registered and included in electoral rolls together with other citizens in their places of residence. 
General Peace Agreement for Mozambique, along with seven Protocols and four related documents, Rome, 4 October 1992, annexed to Letter dated 6 October 1992 from the permanent representative of Mozambique to the UN addressed to the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/24635, 8 October 1992.
Cotonou Agreement on Liberia
Article 18(2) of the 1993 Cotonou Agreement on Liberia states:
The parties call upon Liberian refugees and displaced persons to return to Liberia and to their places of origin or habitual residence, and declare that they shall not be jeopardized in any ethnic, political, religious, regional or geographical considerations. 
Cotonou Peace Agreement on Liberia between the Interim Government of National Unity of Liberia (IGNU) of the first part and the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) of the second part and the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) of the third part, Cotonou, 25 July 1993, annexed to Letter dated 6 August 1993 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Benin to the UN addressed to the UN Secretary-General, UN Doc. S/26272, 9 August 1993, Article 18(2).
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
Principle 29(1) of the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provides:
Internally displaced persons who have returned to their homes or places of habitual residence or who have resettled in another part of the country shall not be discriminated against as a result of their having been displaced. They shall have the right to participate fully and equally in public affairs at all levels and have equal access to public services. 
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 29(1).
No data.
Colombia
According to Colombia’s Law on Internally Displaced Persons (1997), forcibly displaced persons have the right not to be discriminated against on account of their social condition, race, religion, political opinion, place of origin or physical disability. 
Colombia, Law on Internally Displaced Persons, 1997, Article 2(3).
Peru
Peru’s Law on Internal Displacement (2004) states:
Internally displaced persons who have returned to their homes or places of habitual residence or who have resettled in another part of the country shall not be discriminated against as a result of their having been displaced. They have the right to participate fully and equally in public affairs at all levels and have equal access to public services. 
Peru, Law on Internal Displacement, 2004, Article 17(1).
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:
f) Be protected against … political persecution. 
Peru, Regulations to the Law on Internal Displacement, 2005, Article 6(f).
No data.
Afghanistan
In 1997, in letters to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN Security Council, Afghanistan called upon the UN “to prepare the circumstances allowing all civilians who have been deported and forcibly displaced to return to their homes without being subjected to discrimination on the basis of gender, age or ethnic origin”. 
Afghanistan, Identical letters dated 19 January 1997 to the UN Secretary-General and the President of the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/1997/54, 21 January 1997, p. 3.
Germany
In 2005, in its Seventh Human Rights Policy Report, Germany’s Federal Government reported to the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament):
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.
UN Security Council
In 1994, in a statement by its President, the UN Security Council called upon the Government of Rwanda “to ensure that there are no reprisals against those wish[ing] to return to their homes and resume their occupation”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1994/42, 10 August 1994, p. 2.
UN Security Council
In 1996, in a statement by its President, the UN Security Council called upon the Government of Croatia “to stop all forms of discrimination against the Croatian Serb population in the provision of social benefits and reconstruction assistance”. 
UN Security Council, Statement by the President, UN Doc. S/PRST/1996/48, 20 December 1996, pp. 1–2.
UNHCR Executive Committee
In 1980, in a Conclusion on Voluntary Repatriation, the UNHCR Executive Committee stressed the importance “of returning refugees not being penalized for having left their country of origin for reasons giving rise to refugee situations”. 
UNHCR, Executive Committee, Conclusion No. 18 (XXXI): Voluntary Repatriation, 16 October 1980, § f.
UN Secretary-General
In 1996, in a report on the situation of human rights in Croatia, the UN Secretary-General noted that a law adopted by the Croatian Parliament on areas of special national interest promised “various benefits, including lower taxes and the possibility of gaining ownership of property after 10 years of occupancy, to persons moving to the region”. The Secretary-General added, however, that “although the law by its terms applies equally to Serbs and Croats, the difficulties being encountered by Croatian Serbs wishing to return makes it likely that Croats rather than Serbs will be the main beneficiaries of these measures”. 
UN Secretary-General, Further report on the situation of human rights in Croatia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1019 (1995), UN Doc. S/1996/456, 21 June 1996, § 26.
UN Commission on Human Rights (Special Rapporteur)
In 1996, in a special report on minorities in the context of the former Yugoslavia, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights stated that an “area of concern … involves difficulties which Croatian Serbs have encountered in acquiring documents necessary to obtain social benefits”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Special periodic report on minorities, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1997/8, 25 October 1996, §§ 127–128.
No data.
International Conference on Central American Refugees
The Concerted Plan of Action adopted at the International Conference on Central American Refugees in 1989 stated that returning persons should not be subject to discrimination. 
International Conference on Central American Refugees (CIREFCA), Guatemala City, 29–31 May 1989, Declaration and Concerted Plan of Action, UN Doc. CIREFCA/89/14, 31 May 1989, § I(21).
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