29 May 2015

In a new report, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) highlights that in 2014, 38 million people were forced to flee their homes and live in displacement inside their countries; an increase of 15% compared to 2013. However, the large majority, 90%, have been living in a situation of protracted displacement for ten years or more, most of them in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria. 

Syria is the country with the largest number of IDPs in the world, with 7.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) as of the end of 2014. The report observes that a third of the world’s IDPs have been living in the Middle East and North Africa; with 90% of IDPs in this region being registered in Syria and Iraq (3.3 million). The NRC highlights that in both countries the government not only fails to prevent displacement and protect people, but uses IDPs as a strategy of war, by forcing them to flee their homes.

Overall, the NRC observes that the steady increase in displacements is mainly due to armed conflicts and generalised violence, perpetrated by military groups, as well as government operations to counter them. An additional factor is the growing inequalities, which create extreme disparities in wealth, education and human development, leading, in turn, to social and geographical marginalisation.

However, the NRC also warns about the absence of durable solutions, as development and peace-building programmes do not include measures on IDPs’ local integration, resettlement or return; factors all contributing to the cause of protracted displacement. Moreover, though IDPs are still under the responsibility of their state government, the report underlines that, so far, humanitarian agencies and NGOs have been the main responders to assist people living in protracted displacement.

In 2014, 30,000 people a day have been made homeless in their country, accounting for a total of at least 11 million newly displaced people. According to NCR, this represents the highest ever registered peak.


This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 29 May 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.