St. Mary's Law Journal


This present global community is complicated because of anxiety and uncertainty. It is thoroughly interconnected yet intricately partitioned. Pivotally, one could argue that the centrality to this global anxiety is identity and belonging. People want to identify with and belong to a political system, territory, and culture. It seems that there is a present world that mirrors the political emergence of the interwar period that had nationalism on the rise. There is hostility to non-citizens globally, whether as refugees, internally displaced peoples (IDPs), or immigrants seeking to join new political communities. This Article explains the difficulties that ensue from being tagged “an internally displaced person” and explains some specific human rights violations that occur during internal displacement. Some of those violations are economic displacement, cultural displacement, a consistent astronomical rise in external displacement (refugeehood), and the effacement of the dignity to “belong” to a society. This Article gives recommendations on the possible legal frameworks of protection that states could adopt to protect their displaced citizens because states bear the first responsibility for internal displacement, not the international community, which arguably has a secondary responsibility to protect IDPs when states are unwilling to protect them. This Article compares the IDP legal regimes in Africa—the Nigerian Draft National Policy on IDPs and The Kenyan IDP statute. It determines whether a statute or policy best answers the dilemma of an appropriate protection mechanism for IDPs. It concludes that choosing an IDP legal regime is not as important as the political will to implement the regime because a legal regime of protection is dead on arrival without implementation.

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Heather C. Montoya