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  • Rehabilitation
  • the restoration of normal living conditions following a disruption or displacement so as to return the inhabitant(s) to a state of personal and community integrity. Such process “should include medical and psychological care as well as legal and social services.”[1]

    Resolution 194 (III) “Palestine—Progress Report of the United Nations Mediator” (11 December 1949) refers to the right to return and to “economic and social rehabilitation” (para. 11).

    Rehabilitation is one of the six forms of reparation: restitution, compensation, return (for refugees and IDPs), satisfaction and guarantees of nonrepetition. No single one of the six elements of reparation can substitute for another form. (See also “Compensation,” “Guarantees of nonrepetition,” “Rehabilitation,” “Resettlement,” “Restitution” and “Satisfaction” in this list of term.)

    According to the Basic Principles, the fourth element of reparations, rehabilitation, should include the provision of medical and psychological care as well as vocational, legal and social services. Despite a lack of greater elaboration on this element in the legal text, it is an important component of the reparations package as all conceivable violations of HRAH, including forced displacement, confiscation and destruction of property and forced eviction, create vulnerable situations for victims in which further violations of their human rights becomes inevitable. When interpreted in this context, rehabilitation of personal, economic, social, cultural and institutional infrastructure, which may have been destroyed or confiscated as part of a systematic attack on populations, groups and/or individuals, becomes part and parcel of any and all reparations for violations of HRAH.

    That no specific legal formula for determining what constitutes “rehabilitation” is offered in the Basic Principles merely reflects the broad and diverse scope of psychological, physical, social, cultural and institutional damage which can be incurred. So, while medical and psychological care as well as legal and social services are considered the most fundamental rehabilitation resources for victims, within a comprehensive and long-term framework of reparations for violations of HRAH, rehabilitation can be envisioned as a process which can help reverse the risks of resettlement. A risk-minimizing, capacity-building and reconstruction-oriented model of rehabilitation would be marked by a series of transitions from:

    •   Landlessness to land-based resettlement;

    •   Joblessness to re-employment;

    •   Food insecurity to safe nutrition;

    •   Homelessness to house reconstruction;

    •   Increased morbidity and mortality to improved health and well-being;

    •   Wide-scale deprivation of common property resources to community reconstruction and social inclusion.[2]


    [1]    “Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law,” A/RES/60/147, 21 March 2006, para. 21, at: http://www.un.org/Docs/asp/ws.asp?m=A/RES/60/147.

    [2]    See Cernea, M.M., “Impoverishment or Social Justice? A Model for Planning Resettlement,” in Mathur, H.M. and Marsden, D. (eds) Development Projects and Impoverishment Risks: Resettling Project-Affected People in India (Delhi, OUP, 1998), p. 47.


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