Paula Gaviria Betancur, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons is an independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council with a mandate to address the complex problem of internal displacement notably by engaging in inclusive dialogues with Governments, international, regional and non-governmental stakeholders, working towards strengthened international response and mainstreaming the human rights of IDPs into the UN system.
Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur (Colombia) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons by the Human Rights Council in September 2022 and assumed the mandate on 1 November 2022.
Paula Gaviria Betancur is a human rights lawyer and a forced displacement expert. She currently serves as executive director of Compaz, a non-profit founded by Nobel Laureate Juan Manuel Santos. With over two decades of experience in human rights and humanitarian affairs, she was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement, which worked from 2019 to 2021 to identify concrete recommendations on how to better prevent, respond and achieve solutions to the global internal displacement crisis. She has been an advocate for durable solutions to internal displacement and particularly for the role of the private sector in breaking the displacement cycle. Ms. Gaviria has over two decades of experience promoting human rights from civil society, the judicial sector, academia, and government. She was the President of Colombia’s Human Rights Advisor (2016-2018). Her role was key in ensuring the victims’ participation in the negotiations. Before that, she supported the preparation and implementation of the country’s 2011 Victims’ Law and directed its Victims Unit (2012-2016), overseeing the development of the Victims Registry. In 2016, she received the World Bank José Edgardo Campos Collaborative Leadership Award. Previously she acted as Director of Human Rights Promotion at the Ombudsman Office of Colombia (2000-2004).
The Special Rapporteur promotes international standards on internal displacement, including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which are an authoritative restatement of international human rights and humanitarian law norms and key framework for national responses. She undertakes and reports on country visits to examine national responses to internal displacement, and can make written communications to governments about the situation of IDPs on their territories. She makes thematic reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly, including one in 2020 on internal displacement in the context of the slow-onset adverse effects of climate change, available here.