While much focus is currently placed on refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) account for a far greater number of people who have been forced to leave their homes. According to the last estimates, there are more than 40 million IDPs worldwide, the highest figure ever recorded. It is also twice the number of refugees in the world.
Many IDPs are caught in a protracted situation for years or even decades. In 2014, more than 50 countries were reported to have people living in internal displacement for more than 10 years. When displacement continues for a long period of time, IDPs become particularly vulnerable: they face socio-economic marginalisation and remain dependent on humanitarian assistance with pessimistic prospects of ever rebuilding their lives. International attention on IDPs has declined over time, leaving most of them neglected by donors, the media as well as national and international stakeholders.
Against this background, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has commissioned Prof. Vincent Chetail to conduct a research on the needs of IDPs in protracted situations. This project focuses on two key interrelated parameters: the invisibility of IDPs and the role of humanitarian and development actors. Indeed, the invisibility of IDPs makes it difficult to identify their specific needs and in turn impedes the ability to craft a sound and effective response of humanitarian and development actors. The main objective of this project is to produce a set of best practices for humanitarian and development actors in order to better account the specific needs of IDPs living in protracted situations.
Research Team: Justine Boillat, Research collaborator