Displacement and dispossession : redefining forced displacement and identifying when forced displacement becomes pillage under international humanitarian law
Kerrin Geoffrey Buck
Host item entries:
Journal of international humanitarian action, Vol. 2, no. 5, 2017, 18 p.
Bibliography : p.16-18
Conflict-induced migration is arguably the most urgent humanitarian challenge today. A growing number of people are forced from their homes each year. The dispossession of civilians by armed parties, furthermore, through forced displacement has become a prevalent phenomenon. This article seeks to provide clarity to civilians, humanitarians, and other stakeholders, attempting to reduce civilian vulnerability to forced displacement through the application of international humanitarian law (IHL). While IHL prohibits forced displacement, pillage, and illegal appropriation, a number of problems arise when we try to implement these laws in practice. Establishing the illegality of an act of forced displacement, for example, may require legal analysis on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, whether appropriation by force due to military necessity is legal or illegal is unclear due to a divergence between IHL treaty provisions and customary international humanitarian law (CIHL). In addition, when forced displacement becomes illegal, appropriation or pillage is not defined. This paper views these problems from a Humanitarian Protection perspective. The objective of the article is to provide practical criteria for stakeholders aiming to apply the law in protection of civilians and their property.
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