Welcome to Ratingperson! In this article, we will explore the topic of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and delve into their challenges, rights, and the responsibility to protect and assist them. Let’s begin!
Who are Internally Displaced Persons?
IDPs are individuals or groups who have been forced or compelled to flee their homes or usual places of residence due to armed conflicts, widespread violence, human rights violations, or natural or human-made disasters. It’s important to note that they have not crossed any internationally recognized state borders.
Challenges Faced by Internally Displaced Persons
IDPs, especially those affected by armed conflicts, are more vulnerable in various aspects. They experience significantly higher mortality rates than the general population and face risks of physical attacks, sexual assault, and kidnapping. They often lack adequate housing, food, and healthcare services.
The majority of IDPs are women and children, who are at a higher risk of fundamental rights violations. Unlike other refugee groups, IDPs tend to remain in or near conflict zones, caught between two fires and in danger of being used as pawns, targets, or human shields.
Difference between Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees
Refugees are individuals who have crossed international borders due to well-founded fears of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinions. In contrast, IDPs have been forcibly displaced from their homes but have not crossed any international borders.
While refugees have a defined legal status and specific international rights, there is no special international legal framework for IDPs. The term “internally displaced person” is merely descriptive. Crossing an international border is a decisive requirement to be considered a refugee.
Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
Like all human beings, IDPs are entitled to human rights specified in international instruments and customary law. In situations of armed conflicts, they enjoy the same protections as civilians under international humanitarian law.
The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, established in 1998, reiterate and compile existing international human rights and humanitarian law standards concerning IDPs. These principles clarify ambiguous areas and fill gaps in various instruments related to situations of particular interest to internally displaced persons.
Responsibility to Protect and Assist Internally Displaced Persons
The primary responsibility for assisting and protecting IDPs lies with the government of the country where they are located. The international community’s role is complementary and supportive, not singular.
Internationally, there is no single agency or organization tasked with coordinating global efforts to protect and assist IDPs. All entities have a duty to cooperate with each other to address their needs under a collaborative strategy.
Where to Find Additional Information
For more in-depth information, you can refer to the thematic reports by the Special Rapporteur and explore materials, links, and sections containing other relevant documents and websites on internally displaced persons.
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