IRRC No. 305

Refugees and internally displaced persons — International humanitarian law and the role of the ICRC

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The main purpose of this brief study is to show the importance of international humanitarian law, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, for internally displaced persons, i.e. persons displaced within their own country, and to refugees, i.e. persons who have fled their country. Not only does this body of international law protect them when they are victims of armed conflict, but its rules — if scrupulously applied — would make it possible to avoid the majority of displacements.

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