GPC Roundtable: Public and Political Participation of Internally Displaced Persons

Around the world today, some 40 million people are internally displaced by conflict and violence. Countless more are displaced by disasters. They, unlike refugees, remain within their own countries. Providing protection and assistance to these internally displaced persons (IDPs) is first and foremost the responsibility of their own governments. Because internally displaced are most often citizens of the country in which they are uprooted, they are entitled to the same set of rights as other non-displaced nationals, and for all citizens this includes the right to participation in public and political life.

Political and public participation rights play a crucial role in the promotion of democratic governance, the rule of law, social inclusion and economic development, as well as in the advancement of human rights. However, IDPs face a number of obstacles to exercising their right to public and political participation. The disenfranchisement of the internally displaced not only infringes their rights, it can exacerbate the social, political and economic marginalization that they typically experience.

In an effort to better understand and address obstacles facing IDPs’ public and political participation, GPC, in collaboration with The Carter Center, held a round-table in Amman – Jordan in October 2018. The meeting brought together GPC field representatives, representatives of UN agencies responsible for the implementation of electoral assistance, and external experts. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions during the roundtable held in Amman.