University of St.Gallen
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Development-induced Displacement: The Role of International Law

abstract This project aims at exploring and analyzing the area of development-induced displacement from a legal perspective. Anthropological and economic studies have shown that most development-induced displaced persons are worse off than they were before their displacement and that in reality there is no difference between the condition of refugees or conflict-induced displaced persons and development-induced displaced persons. Based on case-studies in India, which span from infrastructure projects, to mining and conservation, as well as the legal issues surrounding development-induced displacement, this study aims to offer an international legal framework to deal with development-induced displacement. It is argued that although international financial institutions which are involved in lending activities for development projects, cannot be held liable under the present international framework for human rights violations, they do have the responsibility under the existing human rights laws to ensure proper resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced by development projects. Further, the issue of displacement itself is contested on the basis of internationally recognized human rights, like the right to self-determination and sovereignty over natural resources.
It is argued that the lack of an international legal framework contributes to disparities in resettlement and rehabilitation, which have far-reaching consequences for the affected people. Suggestions are made for the establishment of a set of guidelines to be followed by all international financial institutions and recourse to justice in case of violations to an international body.
   
keywords international law, environmental law, forced migration, development-induced displacement, human rights, international financial institutions
   
partner
type dissertation project
status ongoing
start of project 2002
end of project 2007
additional informations Visiting Researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre, Department of International Development, University of Oxford
topics
methods
contact Rekha Oleschak Pillai