Exile within borders : a study of complinace with the international regime to proetct internally displaced persons
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The UN Guiding Principles for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons (GP), introduced before the UN General Assembly in 1998, are the cornerstone of the international regime for the protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Much has been written about their unusual and unlikely development, yet very little is known about their effectiveness in altering state behavior towards their displaced populations. This dissertation takes a systematic and global look at patterns of commitment and compliance with the IDP regime and identifies forces that have driven states to comply with them. This dissertation addresses: (1) when and why countries voluntarily bind their sovereignty by instituting the GP into domestic law, and (2) if countries that have instituted the GP into law in fact comply with them. I tackle these questions using mixed methods. First, I present a large-n statistical analysis of all documented cases of displacement in the past twenty years to test the merits of competing theories of norm diffusion. Then I trace the evolution of Colombia’s response to internal displacement from denial of the crisis to deep compliance with the IDP regime. Both the first and second stages of the dissertation find that, above all, regional factors are key to the diffusion of IDP norms. This is evidenced by the clear pattern of regional clustering of commitment found in the statistical analysis and by the significant influence exerted by Latin American regional politics found in Colombia’s evolving response to its displacement crisis. This study should be of particular interest to policy practitioners and activists involved in addressing the problem of internal displacement and protecting the rights of IDPs.