Protection of Internally Displaced Persons (26 October – 6 December, 2016)


This course can be taken as stand-alone, or as part of the Diploma in Human Rights and Forced Displacement. The dates for the offering of this course in 2016 (stand-alone as well as part of Diploma) is 26 October – 6 December, 2016.

Course Description

This certificate course introduces learners to the various dimensions of human rights protection as it applies to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The rise of internal conflicts in the last couple of decades, accompanied with natural disasters in many poorest parts of the world, has led to emergence of more than 27 million IDPs today. It is obvious that their particularly vulnerable situation creates deep inroads into their human rights. This course addresses the international legal principles and guidelines for protection of IDPs, and the operational challenges to their protection and durable solutions. The course is designed to provide a contemporary flavour to the topic using recent and emerging crises situations around the world as case examples. The course begins with an overview of the contexts in which IDPs emerge in today’s world, before addressing the international and regional legal frameworks for the protection of their human rights. The institutional dimension of operational responses is then analyzed by understanding and deconstructing the Cluster Approach, as well as the role of UNHCR in the protection of IDPs. The role of civil society as well as gender dimensions of protection of IDPs is then analyzed. Finally, the course looks at the possible durable solutions and contemporary challenges thereto in the context of IDPs.

This e-learning course is based on a dynamic pedagogy including reading materials, video clips, case studies, and interactive webinars with the instructor as well as officials of UNHCR.

Course Outline

  • Week 1. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in today’s world
  • Week 2. IDPs and Human Rights: The international and regional legal frameworks
  • Week 3. The Cluster Approach, and the role of UNHCR and civil society
  • Week 4. Gender dimensions of Protection of IDPs
  • Week 5. Durable Solutions
  • Week 6. Contemporary challenges to protection of IDPs

Who Should Apply

The course is intended for staff members of NGOs and government agencies advocating for and working on the protection of IDPs, staff of inter-governmental agencies and others interested in these issues. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use.

About the Instructor

Jan Hessbruegge, (MALD) works as a United Nations human rights officer for the United Nations since 2005, where he has worked for the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Haiti, the Commissions of Inquiry on Human Rights in Syria and North Korea, the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons. He holds a law degree from the University of Muenster in Germany, a Master of Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School and the Diploma in Public International Law of the Hague Academy of International Law. Jan is currently pursuing a doctorate in international law at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, and is currently on sabbatical leave from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Course Fee

For Certificate: Fee for taking this course is USD 600. UPEACE students and almuni enrolling for the Certificate course are entitled to 30% discount on the fee.

For Auditing: It is also possible to audit the course, in which case, participants will not receive a certificate. Auditors, however, will have access to all course material, be able to participate in the synchronous webinar sessions, and be able to monitor the online discussions of participants. The fee for auditing the course is USD 200.

For Certificate and 2 Academic Credits: Participants are also able to take the course for two academic credits offered by UPEACE. The cost of taking the course for 2 academic credits is USD 1100.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send an email to along with your CV and a short Statement of Purpose (not more than 500 words) indicating the motivation for taking the course. Applicants will be contacted within three working days of the application. The course is limited to 25 participants.


Payments may be made either by credit card or by wire transfer. Payment by wire transfer usually takes three to four business days to be deposited in our account. Payment by credit card is instant. If you choose the credit card option, you may notice that we receive slightly less than what you send. That is because the credit card company charges a percentage of the amount for its services. We will not charge you for the bank or credit card company’s deductions.

If you wish to make the payment by credit card, please go to

Payments by wire transfer must be made to the following bank account:

Universidad para la Paz
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Bank account number:100-02-099-600195-4
Swift Code: BNCRCRSJ and IBAN: CR5715109910026001958
Avenidas 1 y 3, Calle 4
San José, Costa Rica