BEtween friends: On durable solutions PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 October 2014 11:40

Fatima Pir T. Allian


“And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 6:165)

One of the most interesting trainings we have attended this year is on Durable Solutions. Atty. Cecilia Jimenez developed the original module when she was still working with the International Displacement Monitoring Center in Geneva (IDMC)  and  is currently one of the commissioners on the Transitional Justice Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). The module is a  powerful tool that helps the CSOs and even the IDPs understand the responsibilities of the duty bearers in ensuring that the IDPs rights are respected and protected at all times.

Before we discuss Durable Solutions let us first get the definition of  who is considered an IDP? “A person, persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border.”

It is noteworthy to know that in the Guiding Principle 28 on Internal Displacement of the UN it states that, “competent authorities have the primary duty and responsibility to establish conditions , as well as provide the means, which allow internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to settle voluntarily in another part of the country.” In addition under the same principle it highlights the need for … ”the full participation of internally displaced persons in the planning and management of their return or settlement and reintegration.”

What are some of the indicators under Durable Solutions that indicate IDP’s human rights are not violated? The three key standards are voluntary, safety and dignity. On voluntary solutions one key guiding principle is under 14.1 which says, “Every internally displaced person has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his or her residences. ” What are the elements under this provision? According to IDMC  there is freedom of choice so that the IDPs can practice informed-decision making and there is no coercion. The IDPs should be given the opportunity to visit, return to resettlement areas before making a decision.  On safety, the guiding principle under 15.d, states that the “right to be protected against forcible return or resettlement in any place where there life, safety, liberty and/or health would be at risk” is highlighted. The IDMC stressed that physical, legal and material/socio-economic safety are the essential components applicable to both on the way to and in areas of return, local integration or resettlement. Lastly on dignity, there should be no conditional return, no manipulation, at IDPs own pace, no arbitrary separation from the families and there should be respect for human rights and there is non-discrimination.

When the IDPs no longer have any specific needs linked to displacement, and when they enjoy their human rights without discrimination on account of displacement and sustainable, (re) integration of IDPs in the community of settlement are indicators that Durable Solutions have been achieved.  Safety and security, adequate standard of living, access to livelihoods, housing, land and property restoration, access to documentation, family reunification, participation in public affairs and access to justice are the eight important criteria for Durable Solutions.

Yes, our IDPs in Zamboanga City have a long way to go and the city government has to extend more patience and try their best to assist the bakwits. We know some of them have given so much of their time, energy, commitment and love to serve others. The CSOs should also participate not only in monitoring and evaluating the government’s efforts but to be part of the working team of the city. When there is a multi-sectoral effort done to empower the bakwits, we are also empowering one another. Then perhaps the “Build Back Better Zamboanga” will become a reality.