Displaced people need protection - GulfToday

Displaced people need protection

The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The plight of the displaced people is incomprehensible. It is distressing that the daily tragedy of internal displacement continues for millions of people around the globe.

A recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) had indicated that a record 41.3 million people had been displaced inside their own countries because of conflict, violence and disasters.

In fact, the number of people living in internal displacement worldwide as of the end of 2018 is the highest it has ever been, according to the UN’s Global Report on Internal Displacement.

This marks an increase of more than a million since the end of 2017 and two-thirds more than the global number of refugees.

The numbers not only startle but also indicate the need for collective and effective global action to tackle the root causes of internal displacements.

Internally displaced people (IDP) is a label given to those who remain in their homeland, as opposed to refugees, who flee across borders.

The record figure is the result of years of cyclical and protracted displacement, and high levels of new displacement between January and December 2018.

The IDMC had recorded 28 million new internal displacements associated with conflict, generalised violence and disasters in 2018.

Ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria, and a rise in inter-communal tensions in Ethiopia, Cameroon and Nigeria’s Middle Belt region triggered most of the 10.8 million new displacements linked to conflict and violence.

Internally displaced people who tried to return to their homes in Iraq, Nigeria and Syria during the year found their property destroyed, infrastructure damaged and basic services non-existent.

It’s not conflicts alone. Extreme weather events were also responsible for the majority of the 17.2 million new displacements associated with disasters in 2018.

Tropical cyclones and monsoon floods led to mass displacement in the Philippines, China and India, mostly in the form of evacuations. California suffered the most destructive wildfires in its history, which displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Drought in Afghanistan triggered more displacement than the country’s armed conflict, and the crisis in north-eastern Nigeria was aggravated by flooding that affected 80 per cent of the country.

Incidentally, internal displacement is an increasingly urban phenomenon. Warfare in cities such as Dara’a in Syria and Tripoli in Libya accounted for much of the displacement recorded in the Middle East in 2018.

Urban centres such as Dhaka in Bangladesh are also the preferred destination for many people fleeing the effects of climate change.

The message is loud and clear. Peace and humanitarian efforts need to be intensified. When insecurity and hopelessness set in the minds of displaced persons, it pricks the conscience of humanity.

The international community should act immediately to break the trend where millions of men, women and children are getting trapped in conflict zones around the world. Enough time has already been lost and the results are proving disastrous on the ground.

As Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, pointed out, the findings of the report are a wake-up call to world leaders. The fact remains that millions of people were forced to flee their homes last year because of ineffective national governance and insufficient international diplomacy. All displaced people definitely have a right to protection and the international community has a duty to ensure it.

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