Group Vulnerability and the Need for a UN Convention on Internally Displaced Persons

Uzoigwe, Nnenne and Wheatley, Steven (2028) Group Vulnerability and the Need for a UN Convention on Internally Displaced Persons. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Internally displaced persons are a category of people forced to leave their homes in search of safety. People in this category suffer severe human rights abuse, but despite the vulnerabilities that internally displaced people face, there is no explicit, globally enforceable hard law that is tailored to their particular need. Existing normative frameworks do not specifically address the needs of displaced people. The only document that tailors to the needs of displaced people is the 1998 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Despite being widely accepted, the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement do not confer rights on internally displaced persons. This research work examines whether there is a need to create a hard law instrument on internal isplacement. There have been calls for a normative framework that is legally binding on internal displacement, but it has not yielded a positive response. This work argues for a UN Convention on internally displaced persons. It draws on the notion of group vulnerability to justify the need for a specialised global instrument on internal displacement. This work discovered that vulnerable groups are people whose vulnerability is relational, particular, and harm based. Vulnerability is relational when people experience vulnerable situations because they associate with a particular group. The group membership creates and sustains their vulnerabilities. The vulnerability that they experience is also particular to the people who identify with the group. Lastly, this vulnerability is predicated on harm and human rights abuse. Populations who embody these characteristics are a vulnerable group in need of special protection. Data on the dire nature of internal displacement show that internally displaced persons are a vulnerable group. The vulnerability that displaced people experience is created and sustained by their identification as people forced to move. The nature of the vulnerabilities they experience is particular to displaced people, and it is also harm based. People in the category of internally displaced people are subjected to harm and human rights abuse as a result of their displacement. These characteristics place people displaced within the State border in the category of vulnerable group identities and create the possibility for a specialised hard law instrument. The notion of vulnerability, therefore, justifies the need for a hard law instrument on internal displacement.

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12 Jul 2023 13:30
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 06:04