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Women’s Refugee Commission Welcomes Report of UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement

Geneva – A new report launched this week by the United Nations Secretary-General’s (UNSG) High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement (HLP) laid out new actions to address, prevent, and respond to internal displacement globally.

The report is the result of two years’ work by the HLP, along with advocacy organizations, including the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), and is in response to the millions of people trapped in protracted displacement and the imperative to help them find durable solutions. For example, in Afghanistan alone, more than 3.5 million people were internally displaced prior to the Taliban takeover.

The UNSG established the HLP at the end of 2019 to identify recommendations on addressing the global internal displacement crisis.

WRC contributed to the consultative process of the report, including by facilitating a joint submission signed by over 50 nongovernmental organizations and member states, as well as by hosting two dialogues with the HLP on integrating age, gender, and diversity considerations into its recommendations.

In response to the report, Manisha Thomas, WRC’s Geneva representative, issued the following statement:

“WRC welcomes the report and commends the panel’s work over the past two years. Internally displaced persons (IDPs), who numbered 55 million at the end of 2020, remain one of the most overlooked, yet largest populations in displacement.

“We support the report’s strong focus on the human rights and participation of IDPs themselves, as well as the consistent inclusion of age, gender, and diversity considerations. WRC also welcomes the report’s attention to legal reform and redressing legal or societal inequalities that prevent women from exercising their full rights, and the explicit mention of gender discrimination in nationality laws that prevents women from passing on citizenship to their children.

“WRC echoes Dr. Sima Simar, HLP member and former minister of women’s affairs of Afghanistan, who called for special attention to the needs of women, including their access to justice for sexual and gender-based violence. We would have liked to see a stronger emphasis in the report on the specific needs of women and girls, in particular access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, which should be provided at the onset of situations of internal displacement, particularly for survivors of gender-based violence.

“This report is a critical first step, whose recommendations now must be implemented by the UN, member states and donors. The success of the report can only be measured in real change in the lives of the millions of IDPs, half of whom are women and girls.”