Global campaign launches to raise awareness of internal displacement worldwide
17 APRIL 2018, GENEVA – Embargoed until 12.00 CET
To raise awareness of the global phenomenon of internal displacement, eight international organisations are combining their voices in a global campaign to highlight the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide. Men, women and children forced to abandon their homes because of conflict, violence, disasters or development projects but who have not crossed an international border to seek refuge abroad.
During 2016, there were more than 30 million incidents of new internal displacement worldwide. Each incident represents a person uprooted within their own country, often at a moment’s notice and in traumatic circumstances, depriving them of their homes, jobs, basic services and social connections. Their displacement also tends to leave them more vulnerable to violence, abuse and discrimination.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Christian Aid, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Translators without Borders are launching www.gp20.org on 17 April, which marks 20 years since the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement were published in 1998.
Endorsed by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, the campaign will run for nine months and will elevate internal displacement as a global issue that can affect anyone, and requires global action. It aims to illustrate how the Guiding Principles have translated into progress at the national and global level, and the relevance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in preventing and resolving the phenomenon.
The Guiding Principles established an international framework for the protection and assistance of internally displaced people (IDPs) worldwide. They are not a binding legal instrument, but they have gained considerable authority since their adoption. The UN General Assembly has recognised their importance and encouraged all stakeholders who confront or work with internal displacement to use
them. Regional organisations and states have also deemed the principles a useful tool and some have incorporated them into laws and policies.
These are positive developments, but the campaign will also highlight the fact that much remains to be done for IDPs or people at risk of displacement. Unacceptable numbers of people are still forced to flee their homes each year, and millions more live in protracted displacement with no solution in sight.
“If 2018 is to be the year in which we see real change for IDPs, we need to think and talk about internal displacement differently. We must consider it a human rights issue, but also focus on its critical and often neglected political and development dimensions,” said IDMC’s director, Alexandra Bilak.
Responsibility for addressing IDPs’ plight lies primarily with states, but to do so they will need international support, including recognition that humanitarian responses alone are not enough. Long-term development planning, including policies that recognise the positive impact IDPs can have on the communities which host them, will be vital to securing peace, stability and prosperity, and achieving the SDGs by 2030.
The campaign statement issues a reminder that we all have a role to play in supporting IDPs.
- We can demand that the international community recognise internal displacement as a global issue that must be addressed to achieve the SDGs
- We can call on governments and other stakeholders to provide IDPs with fair and decent solutions, to prevent and reduce internal displacement through investments in peacebuilding, disaster risk reduction and inclusive development, and to develop and implement laws and policies based on the Guiding Principles
- And, we can advocate for IDPs’ rights and freedoms.
The GP20 campaign is being developed with FHI360 and will feature articles, videos, photos and data on internal displacement throughout this anniversary year.
We urge people to visit www.gp20.org for more information and to support the campaign statement.
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Sian Bowen, Head of Communications
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)
Office: + 41 22 552 36 12
Mobile: +41 78 630 16 78