- Human rights remedies — Internally displaced persons — Reparations — Restitution
This chapter explores restitution and other remedies for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most refugees and IDPs never receive any formal redress for the wrongs they have suffered. Yet over the past 30 years, significant progress has been made in advancing international norms on remedies for refugees and IDPs, and experiences in countries from Bosnia and Kosovo to Rwanda and Iraq have strengthened understanding of the challenges involved in translating these principles into practice. Efforts have focused predominantly on the restitution of housing, land, and property (HLP), with the assumption that this is the most pertinent remedy for forced migrants, particularly because it may help enable return as the ‘preferred’ solution to displacement. The chapter assesses these developments and the state of research on this pivotal challenge. It reviews the approaches taken in major peace treaties, court decisions, and standards. The chapter then reflects on five intertwined challenges: (i) developing appropriate data collection techniques and evidentiary standards; (ii) balancing the rights of ‘secondary occupants’ and people in protracted displacement; (iii) mitigating risks associated with HLP restitution; (iv) developing a better understanding of how gender, race, class, and other intersecting power relations influence redress; and (v) moving beyond a narrow focus on property restitution to consider the wider range of losses associated with displacement.
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