Internal displacement in law and policy: war and beyond


​​This module explores the concepts, debates, law and policy framing internal displacement and ‘internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) as a distinct topic of humanitarian concern.

Topics covered

  • What is meant by the term ‘internally displaced person’ (IDP) and the movement towards conceptualising IDPs as a legal category in its own right
  • The development of international standards relating specifically to IDPs, and how these have been used by governments around the world to develop laws and policies for IDP protection at the national level
  • How IDP protection is approached by international organisations, including UN agencies
  • How general human rights standards, the laws of war and international criminal law are relevant to the issue of forced displacement in wartime
  • The framework of land, housing and property (LHP) rights developed as a means to resolve the situation of forced displacement
  • Present challenges in the field of IDP protection, including development-induced displacement, disaster and climate-induced displacement, and how IDP protection interacts with international refugee law.

Learning outcomes

The module seeks to impart a solid critical understanding of the main legal/policy frameworks relating to IDPs and internal displacement , as well as their future potential. You will learn how to develop, deploy and defend sound legal and policy arguments, and evaluate concepts, laws and debates concerning internal displacement and IDPs.


This elective module is assessed via a 4,000-word research essay, which comprises 70% of the overall grade, and three online assessments (E-tivities), which make up 30% of the overall grade.

Module team

Ben Hudson is a module tutor for SAS

Dr Ben Hudson - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Ben is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE). Previously, Ben lectured at the University of Lincoln (2017-2020), and taught at the University of Bristol (2014-2017).

Ben’s research primarily concerns internal displacement and international human rights law. His doctoral research identified, examined and elucidated a series of pertinent challenges in law and practice. He has published in the area of cross-border migration, notably examining the concept of vulnerability as utilised by the European Court of Human Rights in its case law pertaining to migrant journeys across the Mediterranean Sea.

Ben is a Co-coordinator of the University of Exeter's interdisciplinary Routes network, and Editorial Board Member of the Journal of Internal Displacement and the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) Working Paper Series. Ben also leads the 'Managing and Protecting People on the Move', research stream at the annual UK Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Conference.

Member institution: School of Advanced Study
Beatriz Sánchez-Mojica Module tutor SAS

Dr Beatriz Eugenia Sánchez-Mojica - Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies

Beatriz is a lawyer and has a PhD in Human Rights. She is an expert in International Human Rights Law and forced migration issues. Her work, as academic and consultant, critically analyses the ability of International Law to enhance protection in a globalized world. Her research is particularly focused on vulnerable populations, such as refugees, internal displaced persons, people uprooted due to disasters and climate change, as well as victims of armed conflict.

She has taught law in various universities in both Colombia and Spain and was a consultant on forced migration issues for International Organization for Migration (OIM), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID).

Currently, she teaches at IE University Law Faculty and at Universidad Pontificia de Comillas. She is also a fellow researcher at Instituto de Estudios Sobre Conflictos y Acción Humanitaria (IECAH). She also coordinates the Latin American Network on Internally Displaced Persons (LANID).

Member institution: School of Advanced Study