Policies on internal displacement

For the purpose of this database, a policy is defined as a document that outlines the main goals of a government (or part of it) as well as the methods, the actions and the principles to achieve them.

Total number of policies (60)

Breakdown by regions

Africa (19) Americas (10) Asia (12) Europe (16) Middle East (2) Oceania (1)
Angola (2) Colombia (6) Afghanistan (4) Armenia Iraq Vanuatu
Burundi (3) Guatemala Bangladesh Azerbaijan (2) Yemen
Democratic Republic of the Congo Peru (3) India (2) Bosnia and Herzegovina (2)
Ethiopia Indonesia Croatia
Liberia Nepal Goergia
Mali Pakistan Montenegro (2)
Sierra Leone Sri Lanka Serbia (4)
Somalia (3) Timor Leste Turkey (2)
South Sudan Ukraine
Uganda (2)
Zambia (2)


Policies, strategies, or action plans are very important to respond efficiently to internal displacement as they can be adopted with less formal procedures, and hence are often more rapidly adopted than laws. They are often necessary (1) to address urgent needs caused by displacement crisis and/or (2) to supplement laws, by providing details on unspecified issues as well as to implement legislation that is adopted.

Policies may identify priorities for legislative changes, clarify and complement current legislation, or identify concrete mechanisms of implementation.

For more information, please refer to: Protecting Internally Displaced Persons (2008: p.28-29)

Criteria of identification

Content: Specifically on IDPs

In this database, policies refer to all instruments providing a general framework for governments’ responses to internal displacement (notably by including internal displacement, IDPs, or related terms such as resettlement in the title).

For example, the “National Policy on Displacement”, adopted by the Ministry of Displacement and Migration of Iraq in 2008 is included as a policy in this database;

– While the “Agreement No. 59” of 1997 of the National Council for Societal Security & Health Declaring Mass Displacement as a Result of Violence a Catastrophic Event, is not classified as policy but as an other relevant instrument, because its main objective is to regulate the health care system in Colombia and not to provide a general framework on internal displacement.

Nature: norm without the force of law

More specifically, the policies included in this database cover a range of instruments comprising national policies, strategies, action plan, agreements, and decrees, amongst others. They are commonly adopted by the Heads of State, Ministries or responsible agencies. While they usually do not have the force of law, they can nevertheless supplement a law. Hence, for the purpose of this database, policies are the instruments on internal displacement adopted by an executive body.

For example, the “Decreto Supremo N°044-2005-MIMDES. Reglamento de la ley sobre desplazamientos internos (Ley Nº 28223, Ley sobre los desplazamientos internos)” adopted in Peru in 2005, is classified as a policy, since it addresses the rights and responsibilities related to IDPs’ protection and supplements the “Law concerning Internal Displacement” (2004). As a Supreme Decree, it has a general character and regulates government’s activity, but it does not have the force of law.

 The “National Climate Change Policy” adopted by the Government of Fiji in 2012 is not considered as a policy but as an other relevant instrument because, even if it addresses issues related to the IDPs, it does not specifically focus on internal displacement.

Policies can be adopted at national and sub-national levels.

For example, the Somali Regional Government of Ethiopia adopted in 2017 the “Somali Region Durable Solutions Strategy for the period between 2017 and 2020”.

While the identification of the policies adopted at national level gathered in this database is as exhaustive as possible, the ones adopted at sub-national level serve as examples only.

Countries with policies