'38 million people' internally displaced worldwide

Refugee NGO states the figures are a record high for a third year in a row, with 15 percent increase in 2014 alone.

    A new report has found that 38 million people have been displaced within their own country by confict or violence, with at least 11 million newly displaced in 2014 alone. 

    The global overview report, released on Wednesday by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) recorded a 15 percent increase, stating that the figures were a record high for a third year in a row. 

    Jan Egeland, the secretary-general of the NRC described the report as a wake up call for international diplomacy, reiterating that the figures are distinct from refugees who are forced to leave their countries.

    "What it really is a damning verdict of international diplomacy, of the lack of good governance in countries, lack of regional cooperation," he told Al Jazeera from Geneva.

    He said that conflicting governments should "sit down and discuss reconciliation and cooperation" with armed groups in order to "not pull in opposite directions, but pull in the same direction". 

    Sixty-percent of all IDP's globally were in five countries: Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. 

    Europe, for the first time in more than a decade, saw large numbers of displaced people - nearly 650,000 were displaced by the war in Ukraine.

    'Deliberate politicisation'

    The report highlights how 90 percent of all IDP's in the Middle East and North Africa regions were living in Iraq and Syria - with at least 2.2 million people in Iraq fleeing the violence propelled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) armed group. 

    Syria has the largest number of IDP's in the world with 7.6 million people - an outcome of the brutal civil war that broke out in the country in 2011.

    The report also highlighted how long-lasting, or protracted displacement, contributes to this alarmingly high global total. In 2014, there were people living in displacement for ten years or more in nearly 90 percent of the 60 countries and territories IDMC monitored. 

    The IDMC report also describes how displacement often reveals underlying structural challenges within a country, and how it can be prolonged by a government’s deliberate politicisation of the issue or its refusal to enter into a formal resolution of a crisis. 

    Volker Turk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said that the staggering number of internally displaced people because of conflict and violence is a harbinger of movements to come.

    "We know that more and more internally displaced have been forced to move within their country multiple times. The longer a conflict lasts, the more insecure they feel and when hopelessness sets in, many will cross borders and become refugees," he said.

    “And as we have seen in the recent past, for example in the Mediterranean, despair drives people to take their chances and even risk dangerous boat journeys. The obvious solution lies in an all-out effort to bring about peace in war-ravaged countries,” Mr Turk added. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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