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Listen to the podcast of the 27 May seminar, part of the Trinity term 2015 Public Seminar Series

In the past two decades, global policy on internal displacement has become a discernible area of activity for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and a range of other international and non-government organizations. It is an area of policy which operates in parallel with global refugee policy, alongside but separate as it is neither as strongly legally or institutional anchored. Its development has been far more ad hoc, incremental, and divided than refugee policy. And yet global policy on internal displacement as both process and product is clearly identifiable. This is reflected in legal developments including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the African Union’s Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention). But it is also reflected in practice within the United Nations, including the development of the cluster approach to provide protection and assistance to the internally displaced, and in the basic working processes not only of UNHCR, but also of the Security Council and the General Assembly. This suggests that incremental processes can have long term effects on global policy generally.

about the speaker

Dr Phil Orchard is Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies and International Relations at the University of Queensland. His research interests focus primarily on international efforts to provide institutional and legal forms of protection to civilians and forced migrants. His first book, A Right to Flee: Refugees, States, and the Construction of International Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examines the origins and evolution of refugee protection from 1648 to the present. His co-edited book, with Alexander Betts and entitled Implementation in World Politics: How Norms Change Practice (Oxford University Press, 2014), examines the difficulties in implementing even strongly institutionalised human-centred norms. His current work focuses on institutional and legal protections for internally displaced persons. He has published in a variety of outlets within the fields of international relations and forced migration studies, including Global Governance, International Affairs, the Review of International Studies and Refugee Survey Quarterly.

Prior to joining UQ, Dr Orchard served as a Canadian Department of National Defence Security and Defence Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow. He holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and previously worked as the Assistant to the Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Internally Displaced Persons. He is also the Research Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.

related content

Dr Phil Orchard External

The normative institutionalization–implementation gap Publications

Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice Publications

Global refugee policy News & Media