Internally displaced people deserve more attention, advocacy group says

Those who are on the run but do not cross an international border deserve greater focus, Refugees International says

People who have been forced to flee their homes due to war and other disasters but remain within their own country’s borders need to be treated more seriously by the international community, an advocacy group said in a report released on Tuesday.

Refugees International released a study called Internal Displacement: an Agenda for Progress saying the plight of internally displaced people (IDPs) was a serious issue.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that about 55 million people were internally displaced by conflict and human rights abuses at the end of 2020, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Syria and the Central African Republic.

“Internal displacement should be a top priority on the international agenda,” report author Sarah Miller wrote.

Unlike refugees, who are defined in international conventions as people who have fled across an international border, internally displaced people do not attract much attention and struggle to have their rights protected, she said.

“The reality is that many IDPs still have little access to their basic rights and receive only ad hoc assistance and support,” Ms Miller wrote.

“Moreover, most IDPs find themselves lacking a long-term solution, in some cases languishing for years in limbo.”

Ms Miller said the UN should hire a special envoy for internally displaced people, among a series of recommendations about how “humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors” should “work towards solutions”.

The UN did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Updated: August 10th 2021, 8:20 AM