The IDP in international law: debates, developments and prospects

Who cares about IDP law? Unlike refugees and other special interest groups that benefit from dedicated status under international law, IDP protection tends to be viewed as a matter of policy rather than law. Indeed, the 1998 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement are merely ‘soft law’. Moreover, scholarly interest in IDPs has dipped, especially since the 2015 European refugee ‘crisis’.

Against this unpromising backdrop, the talk draws on a diverse set of developments over the twenty years since the drafting of the Guiding Principles to argue that a distinct field of IDP law is now emerging. It suggests that this has a number of intriguing implications for debates about IDP protection, its relationship to refugee protection and international law more generally.