Internally displaced persons

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Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are individuals or groups of people who have been forced or compelled to flee their homes or places of habitual residence, but have not crossed an international border. Unlike refugees, who flee across national boundaries, IDPs remain within the borders of their own country.

IDPs are typically uprooted as a result of armed conflict, violence, human rights abuses, natural disasters, or development projects. They often face similar challenges to refugees, such as loss of homes, livelihoods, and access to basic services. However, IDPs are often more vulnerable because they remain within the jurisdiction of their own government, which may be unable or unwilling to provide them with adequate protection and assistance.

The number of IDPs worldwide is significant, and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates that as of 2021, there were over 55 million IDPs globally. Some countries with significant numbers of IDPs include Syria, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, and Iraq.

The United Nations and its agencies, along with various non-governmental organizations, work to provide assistance and protection to IDPs. They focus on addressing their immediate needs, such as shelter, food, water, healthcare, and education, as well as advocating for durable solutions, including voluntary return, local integration, or resettlement in exceptional cases.

Efforts are also made to ensure the human rights of IDPs are respected, including the right to life, liberty, and security of person, as well as access to humanitarian assistance, protection from discrimination, and the right to return to their homes or choose to resettle elsewhere.

While there have been some international frameworks and initiatives to address the needs of IDPs, such as the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the response to internal displacement remains a complex and ongoing challenge, requiring cooperation and support from governments, humanitarian organizations, and the international community as a whole.

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