Beyond rights-based social protection for forcibly displaced people – World

Posted on February 21, 2022

Having a right that is not respected is not the same as having no rights at all. At least it shouldn’t be. Failure to receive something to which you are entitled should result in formal redress or, failing that, a protest.

Rights-based discourse has broader significance. Whether and when it is or should be used is important. Regarding access to social protection (including social and humanitarian assistance), rights-based means of discourse there is no difference between refugees and others who do not receive protection to which they are entitled, such as internally displaced persons (IDPs).

This introduces two key tensions, both of which we explore in this article. The first concerns the identification of the institution responsible for the realization of the right, as determined in the official/state humanitarian system of social protection. The second concerns the alternatives that displaced people can identify when the forms of social protection imposed by the North fail or when the conditions for enjoying this protection are too onerous. These alternatives constitute a second social protection system.

We conclude that although they are unequal, both systems are currently necessary, even though a language of rights is appropriate only with respect to the first tension. Finally, greater coordination and collaboration between the two systems is needed.

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Joel C. Hicks