Providing Durable Solutions to IDPs & Other Persons of Concern

By definition, Internally Displaced Persons unlike Refugees, are people that have been dispersed away from their places of comfort or ancestral homes and communities due to human-induced crises or natural disasters. Such people have not crossed into the territory of another country; they still live within the borders of their home country.

The protection of Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) is vital to the activities of the Commission. When displacement occurs, the focus is usually to draw attention to the need for every IDP to be treated with dignity and respect wherever they take shelter whether in their home State or not. The fact that many social groups are still segregated along the ethnic-religious line, the tendency for the indigent population to discriminate against IDPs is very high. This is often reflected in indigene-settler squabbles.

The Commission is committed to stemming acts of rape, assault, and violentattacks against IDPs; and works against any discriminatory action as a result of displacement.

Overall, prevention is part of the core component of the draft National IDPs Policy, which clearly prohibits arbitrary displacement either by the action or policies of government at all levels or by non-state actors. Prohibition or disdain for arbitrary displacement can also be inferred from the 1999 constitution (as amended) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that the primary purpose of government is to ensure the welfare and security of the people. It is, therefore, safe to assume that the government for instance will not engage in arbitrary displacement in consideration of the welfare of its citizens.

The Commission in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducts the return of Nigerian emigrants through the instrumentality of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The AVRR Programme has been in place in Nigeria since 2002 and seeks to, among other things, offer migrants (regular or irregular) who seek or need to return home but lack the means to do so. The AVRR programme serves as a viable and safe solution to their plight. The Programme has facilitated the return and reintegration of more than 3,000 returnees including irregular and stranded migrants, labor migrants, Survivors of Trafficking (SoTs), and unaccompanied and separated minors from more than 20 countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Due to the success of the AVRR program, the commission in collaboration with stakeholders developed and validated a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Return, Readmission, and Reintegration. The policy document also recognizes the importance of bilateral and multilateral arrangements with the main destination countries and Nigeria in the facilitation of the Return process. The document outlines clear responsibilities and operational boundaries of various actors at every stage of return while ensuring the sustainability of the process. It also contains a referral/feedback mechanism among the various actors as well as the returnees themselves.

The Durable solution options available for IDPs include:

• Return: To go back to their former place of habitual residence provided that their safety is guaranteed i.e. the cause of their displacement is/has been stopped or abated and no re-occurrence of such cause of displacement can be immediately foretold.
• Resettlement: re-established or settled in a new site or community where safety is guaranteed for the IDPs. This option is proffered when it becomes seemingly impossible for the IDPs to return to their formal place of residence.
• Re-integration: this is a situation whereby IDPs are being locally integrated into host communities. Re-integration programmes are built into any of the durable solution options.

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We thrive to integrate the best solutions through effective utilization of data, research, and planning for the Return, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, and Re-integration of all persons of concern.

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