AFTER YEARS OF PRESSURE FROM CIVIL SOCIETY, activists and humanitarian and development agencies, including Christian Aid, the UN has released its first High-Level Panel report explicitly on internally displaced people (IDPs).

Often forgotten, these people instead of fleeing their homes to other countries, remain within their country’s borders. The number of IDPs in the world has reached a staggering 55 million – with an increase of ten million in the last year.

Christian Aid serves an increasing number of people who are forced from their homes by hunger, violence and conflict, including in South Sudan, Afghanistan, NE Nigeria, and Ethiopia. Severed from their families and communities, these people see their assets and support networks destroyed which places them at high risk. They are the largest group of displaced people in the world.

Cleto Kunda, of Hope Agency for Relief and Development, a Christian Aid partner organisation in Wau, South Sudan, who presented the views of many IDPs to the UN Human Rights Council at the start of campaigns in 2018, said: “Thousands have been uprooted several times in South Sudan – from their homes, their livelihoods, their families and friends due to conflict and climate change, and now they face escalating hunger. This report is a light in the darkness for the millions of our people displaced across South Sudan and abroad, still so often left in the shadows.”

Subrata De, Christian Aid’s country manager in Afghanistan, said: “This a massive milestone – this report is about respecting the dignity of each person in Afghanistan, as millions tackle economic and political crisis, and don’t know where their next meal is coming from, three and a half million people displaced inside Afghanistan need to see its recommendations implemented now”.

Since 2018, Christian Aid has been calling for a ‘FAIR deal’ for internally displaced people, for the right type of Funding, the right level of Ambition, Inclusion, and Respect for international law, for an independent study to examine the status of people forced to flee inside their own countries, and an independent panel.

Jane Backhurst, Senior Adviser at Christian Aid, added: “Looking back on the years of campaigning and advocacy with the joint Steering Group of States, UN agencies and NGOs, followed by intensive consultations with people internally displaced and across the sector, this is testament to successful collective action. And Christian Aid’s supporters have been constant, from the moment we called for this independent panel and for a light to be shone on the millions of people often rendered invisible by displacement. Let’s ensure that when we look back in two years, we can all report that the recommendations are being implemented to make that FAIR deal a reality.”

* Read Shining a Light on Internal Displacement: A Vision for the Future here.

* Source: Christian Aid