Introduction to the mandate of the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Mr. Walter Kälin
In 1992, the Secretary-General, at the request of the Commission on Human Rights, appointed his first Representative on internally displaced persons. In April 2004, the Commission called upon the Secretary-General to create a new mechanism to build on the work of the prior Representative and to bring a further focus on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Accordingly, in September 2004, the Secretary-General appointed Walter Kälin as his new Representative on the human rights of internally displaced persons. The Representative’s mandate is serviced by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and receives support from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs* and the Brookings Institution-University of Bern Project on Internal Displacement,* an independent research and advocacy project, which supports the work of the Representative, and which he co-directs.
Pursuant to Commission resolution 2004/55, the Representative has been charged with
(1) engaging in coordinated advocacy in favor of the protection and respect of the human rights of IDPs,
(2) continuing and enhancing dialogues with Governments as well as non-governmental organizations and other actors,
(3) strengthening the international response to internal displacement, and
(4) mainstreaming the human rights of IDPs into all relevant parts of the UN system.
He was also requested to build upon the work of his predecessor in raising awareness of IDP rights issues, promoting and disseminating the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (E.CN.4/1998/53/Add.2) at the national, regional and international levels, undertaking country missions, convening national and regional seminars, providing support for capacity building of non-governmental organizations and other relevant institutions, and conducting policy-oriented research.
Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons
Mr. Walter Kälin is a Swiss legal scholar and professor of constitutional and international law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Bern.* Mr. Kälin has been closely concerned with issues of IDPs for over a decade, having served as chair of the committee of legal experts that developed the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and having authored numerous books on the subject, including the Annotations to the Guiding Principles (American Society of International Law, Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement, 2000).
In addition to his responsibilities as Representative, Mr. Kälin is also currently a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (since 2003). From 1991-1992, Kälin served as the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Kuwait under Iraqi Occupation.
* OHCHR takes no responsibility for the content of external websites.