Internal displacement is a global phenomenon. In 2017, there were 30.6 million new internal displacements associated with conflict, violence and disasters. Internal displacement uproots people within their own countries, often at a moment’s notice, depriving them of their homes, jobs, basic services and social connections. It often makes them more vulnerable to armed attacks, abuse, and discrimination.
The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement were established 20 years ago to provide a framework for the protection and assistance to internally displaced people.
While the Guiding Principles have helped to raise awareness and address internal displacement, much remains to be done. Unacceptable numbers of people are still displaced each year, and more and more people live in situations of prolonged displacement with no solution in sight.
Responsibility for addressing the plight of IDPs lies primarily with states. But to do this, states will need international support, including recognition that humanitarian responses alone are not enough. Long-term development planning – including policies which recognise the positive impact internally displaced people can have on the communities which host them – will be critical to securing the peace, stability and prosperity of countries hosting IDPs, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
We all have a role to play in supporting IDPs by:
- Calling on governments to provide displaced people with fair and decent solutions;
- Demanding that the international system recognise internal displacement as a global issue that must be addressed for the world to achieve the SDGs;
- Calling on governments and other actors to prevent and reduce internal displacement in line with the Guiding Principles through investments in peace building, disaster risk reduction and inclusive development;
- Calling on governments to develop and implement laws and policies based on the Guiding Principles, and;
- Advocating for the rights and freedoms of internally displaced people