THE principles on internally displaced identify the rights and guarantees relevant to their protection in all phases. It provides protection against arbitrary displacement, offers a basis for protection and assistance during displacement, and set forth guarantees for safe return, resettlement, and reintegration. Although it does not constitute a binding instrument, the Principles reflect and are consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.
The continuing challenges in terms of upholding human rights of the internally displaced in Marawi highlight the strong need for the internally displaced to be closely involved and consulted in the planning for durable solutions. Deliberate effort is needed to ensure the genuine participation of women and youth, as well as the consciousness of the special needs for the differently abled, older persons and children.
Their genuine participation could ensure that any intervention from the government and other humanitarian organizations would be culturally sensitive and responsive to their condition. The cultural reserve, including the perspective of the local community, will determine how it could best work on the ground.
Aside from ensuring the rights of IDPs to an adequate standard of living, including access to water and sanitation, health services, education, and shelter, as well as adequate housing compliant with the international standards should be ensured. Options and support should be made available for the internally displaced to resume their livelihood, especially related to their cultural heritage.
Without a home and their means of livelihood severely affected, the situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Marawi reflects extreme uncertainty. Thousands of IDPs are still grappling with their situation and unable to claim appropriate assistance, even restitution, compensation and reparation for their houses, properties, and livelihoods lost, destroyed, looted or damaged during the conflict. There is a need to address these equally soft but important features in reclaiming their ”maratabat” or dignity, honor and pride.
Information-sharing mechanisms, in particular on sex, age and diversity disaggregated data, should be strengthened so as to facilitate the timely sharing of accurate data to inform and improve programming. Of equal importance is on addressing the protection and psychosocial needs of the internally displaced to ensure an appropriate response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the evacuation centers and transit sites. Sexual violence, including the trafficking of women and children, need to be surfaced and discussed, as it is a matter that is highly considered as a private matter.
Safe space is vital for women and children to be heard and taken into account.
This is the essence of upholding human rights and in working towards transitional justice. Any intervention will be criticized when it neglects the very fabric of the culture and the relationship within the community that was destroyed by the violence. The stakes are high.
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