Wider research context: IDPs are persons who have been forced to leave their places of residence as a result of armed conflict, violence, human rights violations or disasters, but who remain within their state. However, unlike refugees, IDPs do not have legal status under international law and there is no specific international treaty that protects them. Recent decades have nonetheless seen developments in the protection of IDPs, such as the completion of the non-binding Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (GPs). INDIRA asks whether these efforts to protect IDPs complement, conflict with, or undermine international refugee law. Research questions: (i) Was the development of the IDP protection framework driven by a desire to contain refugee flows? (ii) Is the possibility of internal displacement in the country of nationality relevant to qualification and/or cessation of refugee status? (iii) Is the availability of assistance to IDPs an alternative to asylum? INDIRA’s outputs will include 1 article in an impact-factor journal and 1 monograph with OUP (already under contract). Approach: (i) I will examine the drafting records of the GPs to see if they support the claim that the GPs were motivated (at least in part) containment agendas; (ii) I will engage in doctrinal methods to assess how the IDP legal framework interacts with that of refugees. Level of originality / innovation: IDPs outnumber refugees by about 2:1 and yet IDPs have been remarkably understudied from a legal perspective. The leading text is The International Protection of Internally Displaced Persons by Catherine Phuong. However it was published in 2005 and therefore does not reflect recent significant developments in IDP protection. The GPs are now 22 years old, there are now two regional treaties on IDP protection in the African continent, the international coordination of IDP protection was overhauled in 2005, at least 27 states now have laws and policies on the protection of IDPs, and there is significant international and domestic case law on IDP rights. Moreover, we are now witnessing the highest level of displacement on record, which has led to significant state hostility towards refugees and a focus on in-country protection to reduce refugee numbers. Yet, there are no detailed studies of the relationship between IDPs and refugees. INDIRA fills this gap.


Duration 01/03/2021 - 28/02/2023
Funding FWF
Principle investigator for the project (Danube University Krems) Assistenz Prof. Mag. Dr. Albert Kraler
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