IRRI was founded in 2004 to inform and improve responses to the cycles of violence and displacement that are at the heart of large-scale human rights violations.

Our vision is a world where every person feels safe and secure, be that in their own homes or elsewhere.

Over the last 14 years, we have developed a holistic approach to the protection of human rights before, during, and in the aftermath of displacement, by focusing on:

  • identifying the violations that cause displacement and exile,
  • protecting the rights of those who are displaced, and
  • ensuring the solutions to their displacement are durable, rights respecting, safe and timely.

We work to ensure the voices of the displaced and conflict affected communities are not only heard but heeded at the international level through our evidence based advocacy that is built on solid field based research and analysis.

We are registered as a non-profit organisation in the US, the UK and Uganda with a board of seven, headed up by our Nigeria-based Chair, Chidi Odinkalu, and our Uganda-based Vice-Chair, Salima Namusobya, with the other board members based in the UK, US and Tanzania.

Mission and Theory of Change

IRRI works to address causes of conflict-related displacement; to ensure that the rights of those forced to leave their homes are respected; and to promote appropriate and sustainable solutions to their displacement.

Displacement is a symptom and a cause of conflict and disenfranchisement; and failures to resolve displacement are a highly complex and multi-faceted and – if not managed correctly – a potential cause for future displacement.

Not only have the displaced been forced to leave their homes due to conflict , unrest or persecution, they can be vulnerable to abuse – both during their journey and when they arrive at a place of “safety”. Often responses to their arrival assume that they will be a burden, they are forced to live in unacceptable conditions, isolated and marginalised for long periods of time and with little genuine effort to offer real solutions.

IRRI recognises that just as the causes of displacement are multiple, so are the consequences. Therefore, IRRI does not set out to have a “one size fits all” approach, but instead takes a context-specific model that is both comprehensive and cognisant of the commonalities in the way that issues of displacement are treated at governmental and multilateral levels. Taking this comprehensive approach and recognising the inter-connectivity of these issues, allows IRRI to formulate more nuanced and effective strategies of response.

While the challenges of civil conflict and the abuse of power by state and non-state actors are highly complex, we believe that there are opportunities to pre-empt these crises, or at a minimum mitigate their impact. Through an integrated framework of regional research, international advocacy and the amplification of local voices, our expertise in protecting human rights in situations of ongoing conflict and displacement in rights protection, mass atrocity and conflict prevention, peace-building and reconciliation enables IRRI to be uniquely effective and have a tangible impact on those whose lives and livelihoods are severely threatened.

IRRI is also unique as we provide non-profit management and fiscal sponsorship to incubate new ideas and organisations. Depending on the need, we provide back office infrastructure, financial management, non- profit management, compliance and governance all supported by experienced staff. We support over 10 projects with fiscal sponsorship, many of whom would not exist without this service. We provide them with a 501© (3) status which enables them to access US based tax deductible donations

IRRI’s 3Ws – Who we are, what we do and why we do it

IRRI is a well-respected, not-for-profit organisation in the human rights sphere with a proud history of advocacy for the displaced in Africa and for refugees beyond.

Its base in the Great Lakes region makes IRRI well placed to build coalitions with local civil society organisations and conduct rigorous, context-based research for external distribution. IRRI’s offices in both Kampala and Dakar permit case-specific legal assistance for asylum claims, resettlement, and other displaced-person matters. Visibility in New York, Europe and the UK connect IRRI to key nodes in the international human rights community, increasing reach and impact. An online presence curates an international legal resource for displaced-persons-rights. Together, these render IRRI a model organisation for collaboration between developed and developing countries to improve the plight of the displaced.