During civil conflicts or natural disasters, civilians are often
forced to flee their homes, suffer the loss of their property, and are
stripped of their ability to fend for themselves. They frequently seek
out safety within other areas of their country, becoming more vulnerable
to human rights abuses and more dependent on humanitarian assistance
for their survival.
There are roughly
27.5 million internally-displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide. In contrast
to those who cross an international border and have legal protection as
refugees, IDPs lack these protections and must rely on their own
government to assist and protect them. When a country is unwilling or
incapable of providing those services, international agencies have a
duty to step in and fill the gap.
Over the past ten years, the
United Nations and other actors have taken steps to improve the way they
respond to humanitarian crises. But the nature of displacement has
changed dramatically in recent years. As a result, humanitarian actors
are now being forced to re-think and adapt their interventions. For
example, more civilians are being targeted during conflicts, leading to
increased numbers of IDPs. Many displaced populations are also now
settling outside of well-defined camps, making it difficult for agencies
to provide effective assistance. In other cases, access to asylum
procedures has become more lengthy and cumbersome, with national
governments and local populations showing increasing hostility to
RI will continue to
assess the living conditions and urgent needs of internally-displaced
persons, asylum seekers, and urban refugees, in order to influence donor
policies - particularly those of the U.S. government, the European
Union, and UNHCR. Furthermore, it will advocate forcefully for adequate
funding and effective implementation of these policies.
address the lack of legal protections for internally-displaced people,
RI will press national governments to develop and implement their own
comprehensive IDP policies, and it will push for the adoption of related
international agreements like the African Union's Kampala Convention.
RI will continue to advocate for humanitarian leadership at the UN that
embodies the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence.
It will pressure the UN to deploy experienced leaders to manage the
global response to humanitarian crises, and suggest improvements to the
UN's field-based humanitarian coordination mechanism, known as the