68th Session of the UN General Assembly Agenda Item 69 (b) and (c): Human Rights

Published Date: 
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Speaker: 
Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer to the United Nations

Mr. Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank Mr. Beyani for his briefing to this Third Committee on a topic of utmost importance to the International Organization for Migration (IOM): the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). I would like to reaffirm IOM’s support to and partnership with the Special Rapporteur, as well as IOM’s commitment to the protection of and assistance to IDPs.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the African Union on the recent entry into force of the Kampala Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. We view this as an important milestone that sets an example for all governments.

The protection of and assistance to IDPs is indeed a central area of IOM’s work, through a wide variety of emergency response activities focusing on IDPs displaced by conflict or by natural disasters. One of IOM’s responsibilities in emergency efforts around the world is as the global cluster lead for camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) in natural disasters. The Organization’s activities are aimed at assisting and protecting IDPs, returnees and host communities with the aim of contributing towards durable solutions and stability. We assist IDPs both within and outside of camp settings.

IOM’s specific activities include providing shelter and non-food item distributions and health assistance; integration or reintegration assistance tailored to the needs of specific target groups including former combatants; capacity-building to help local administrations develop the skills necessary to address emergency displacements, including the innovative Displacement Tracking Matrix used by many governments and other partners to identify and assist populations in need; population stabilization and livelihood recovery activities, including solutions for land and property right disputes as underscored by the Special Rapporteur as necessary to transitional justice; and medical and psychosocial assistance.

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report and support his recommendations. I would like to address two points in this regard.

First, the multi-faceted character of internal displacement requires strong partnership and coordination, with governments, with partner international organizations from a range of areas of expertise and with many actors in civil society, from academia to direct assistance service providers. Working with many partners in leveraging expertise to meet the protection, assistance, and recovery needs of the affected populations is critical for IOM’s operational work.

Indeed, strong and consistent partnerships enable us to build durable solutions.

Mr. Chair,

It is in this light that we fully underscore the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to ensure systematic and early engagement of humanitarian and development actors, from and all relevant sectors, to develop solutions strategies and identify mechanisms to promote an integrated approach to solutions from the early stages of displacement onwards. We also support the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation to systematically integrate durable solutions into peacebuilding and stabilization processes.

The multi-layered and often long-lasting challenges confronting IDPs cannot simply be divided into two distinct stages. Furthermore, to ensure sustainability, we must be aware that transition is a gradual process that requires both flexibility and inclusiveness. All actors involved must work together in a sustained manner to ensure a smooth transition from relief to development.

Mr. Chair,

In conclusion, let me reiterate IOM’s commitment to providing assistance and protection to IDPs. We maintain our commitment to strengthening partnerships and coordination and are convinced that, as providers of emergency humanitarian assistance, we can and must continue to contribute to long-term development solutions.

Thank you.