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U.N.: 25 Million Displaced Worldwide

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    U.N.: 25 Million Displaced Worldwide

    One of the biggest disasters facing the 21st Century.. the 25 million people forced to flee their homes because of civil war, famine and the corrupt policies of their Governments.

    Internally displaced people, or IDPs in relief agency terminology, are people who remain within their home country’s own borders -- often living in makeshift camps -- after escaping conflict. They are present in 52 countries. Refugees are those who flee into other countries.

    UN 25 Million Displaced People Worldwide MSNBC 11 Feb 04

    'War on terror' has made situation worse, council says

    GENEVA - Some 25 million people around the world have fled conflicts or have been forced out of their homes by their governments and are living in another part of their country, a report for the United Nations said on Wednesday. Of these, some three million were uprooted in 2003, most of them in Africa, and nearly all are exposed to serious human rights abuses, said the report by the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Internal displacement is one of the great tragedies of our time, with millions of people every year being forced to flee within their own country from war and violence,” Council Secretary-General Raymond Johansen said.

    The report said the U.S.-proclaimed “War on Terror” had made things worse by encouraging governments to seek military solutions to conflicts “and undermining respect for international humanitarian and human rights standards.” 'Labelling rebel groups ’terrorists’ allowed a number of regimes to intensify counter-insurgency campaigns, attract foreign military aid, and avoid international criticism of human rights abuses against civilians.' Norwegian Refugee Council report “Labelling rebel groups ’terrorists’ allowed a number of regimes to intensify counter-insurgency campaigns, attract foreign military aid, and avoid international criticism of human rights abuses against civilians,” the Council said.

    Johansen said the survey showed “the victims of internal displacement often cannot count on their governments for protection... in several cases the governments themselves are responsible for the forced displacement of their citizens.”Internally displaced people, or IDPs in relief agency terminology, are people who remain within their home country’s own borders -- often living in makeshift camps -- after escaping conflict. They are present in 52 countries. Refugees are those who flee into other countries. The UN refugee agency UNHCR, which looks after them, says there are some 20 million around the world -- also mainly in Africa.

    The Council report, compiled by its Geneva-based Global IDP Project, said Sudan had the highest number of IDPs with a total of four million. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia had three million each, and Uganda, Iraq and Burma each had around one million. Over nine million, or more than a third of all IDPs, the Council said, are trapped in desperate conditions where their lives are in constant danger from fighting near their place of refuge or from dismal conditions. Other regions with the world’s top 10 worst IDP situations, were Burma, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Indonesia’s Aceh province, Liberia, Russia’s rebel Chechnya region, and Somalia.

    #2
    Jan de Wilde, Director of Program Support for the International Organization for Migration, says it often is very difficult to address the needs of internally displaced people because no single agency is set up to deal with them. "This whole category of internally displaced people tends to be forgotten," he said.

    UN Unable to Help Millions of Displaced People Who Fail to Qualify as 'Refugees' VOA News

    The U.N. refugee agency is taking care of 12 million refugees worldwide, people who have fled from warfare or persecution at home. But there are 25 million internally displaced people around the world, people made homeless by conflict or oppression within their own countries. These IDPs, as they are called, often are not reached by organized humanitarian assistance.

    The nature of war has changed since World War II. International conflicts largely have given way to civil wars, and the main casualties are civilians caught up in crossfire. Often civilians are deliberately targeted by the men with the guns, causing a dramatic growth in the number of people abandoning their homes and running for their lives.

    On the surface, there appears to be very little difference between those who are internally displaced and those classed as refugees. The reasons for their flight are the same. But Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, says there is a vast difference between refugees who have crossed into another country and IDPs who have not. "By crossing an international border, you then come under the whole international refugee regime which, in a sense, is designed to replace your national authority," he said. "The fact that your own police force, judiciary, etc. is not protecting you when you are in another country, whereas, when you are still inside your own country, other countries cannot directly help you, so the international regime does not function."

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