An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her countrys borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the definitions of a refugee. At the end of 2014, it was estimated there were 38.2 million IDPs worldwide, the highest level since 1989, the first year for which global statistics on IDPs are available. The countries with the largest IDP populations were Syria, Colombia, Iraq, in this way, the document intentionally steers toward flexibility rather than legal precision as the words in particular indicate that the list of reasons for displacement is not exhaustive. However, as Erin Mooney has pointed out, global statistics on internal displacement generally count only IDPs uprooted by conflict, moreover, a recent study has recommended that the IDP concept should be defined even more narrowly, to be limited to persons displaced by violence. It is very difficult to get accurate figures for internally displaced persons because populations arent constant, IDPs may be returning home while others are fleeing, others may periodically return to IDP camps to take advantage of humanitarian aid. While the case of IDPs in large camps such as those in Darfur, western Sudan, are relatively well-reported, it is difficult to assess those IDPs who flee to larger towns. It is necessary in many instances to supplement official figures with additional information obtained from operational humanitarian organizations on the ground, thus, the 24.5 million figure must be treated as an estimate. Additionally, most official figures include those displaced by conflict or natural disasters. Development-induced IDPs often are not included in assessments and it has been estimated that between 70 and 80% of all IDPs are women and children. 50% of internally displaced people and refugees were thought to be in areas in 2010. A2013 study found that these protracted urban displacements had not been given due weight by international aid, the study argues that this protracted urban displacement needs a fundamental change in the approach to those who are displaced and their host societies. They note that re-framing responses to urban displacement will also involve human rights and development actors, an updated country by country breakdown can be found online. The problem of protecting and assisting IDPs is not a new issue, in international law it is the responsibility of the government concerned to provide assistance and protection for the IDPs in their country. It has been estimated that some 5 million IDPs in 11 countries are without any significant humanitarian assistance from their governments, unlike the case of refugees, there is no international humanitarian institution which has the overall responsibility of protecting and assisting the refugees as well as the internally displaced. A number of organizations have stepped into the breach in specific circumstances. guided by the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The UNHCR has traditionally argued that it not have a general competence for IDPs even though at least since 1972 it had relief. However, in cases where there is a specific request by the UN Secretary General, in 2005 it was helping some 5.6 million IDPs, but only about 1.1 million in Africa
Villagers fleeing gunfire in a camp for internally displaced persons during the 2008 Nord-Kivu war
Official opening of MONUSCO’s photo exhibition organized in the framework of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. In the photo are the Head of MONUSCO, Martin Kobler (1st left), Lambert Mende (middle), and the Director of MONUSCO Public Information Division, Charles Antoine Bambara, commenting on a picture showing an internally displaced person.