Internally displaced people have been left out of global agreements on refugees and migrants. It’s time to put that right.
Years of instability and violence in the Central African Republic have led to large-scale displacement and a desperate need for international aid. This year, more than half of the country's 4.6 million people will depend on humanitarian assistance for protection and survival. But despite the negative trendlines, there is an opportunity for progress.
Despite jubilation in Ethiopia and abroad since reformer Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April 2018, a major humanitarian crisis has unfolded in the south of the country. The government is pressing for displaced people to return home, but their villages are still unsafe and their homes must be rebuilt. Mark Yarnell offers recommendations for mitigating the crisis.
Intercommunal violence in Ethiopia has forced 1.4 million people to become displaced in 2018, the highest number of new internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in the world. For all the obstacles and uncertainties facing Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy’s administration, it is in their control – and interest – to make significant improvements in their response towards displaced Ethiopians. Mark Yarnell offers steps for improving the response.
More than one in 10 internally displaced people are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where millions of IDPs are falling between the cracks of a humanitarian system in urgent need of reform. An important first step is to establish the position of special representative of the secretary-general (SRSG) for IDPs.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear the right of every human being to seek safety in another country. But eight years into the Syrian conflict, this most basic of human rights barely matters because there is so little leeway for people to leave Syrian territory in the first place. If the international community truly wants to help Syrians, it must insist that Syria’s neighbors open their borders, and it needs to offer financial, technical and humanitarian assistance to make that happen.
When the militant group Boko Haram took over in 2013, the majority of Bama, Nigeria's population those fled and have yet to return. Nigerian forces successfully recaptured Bama in 2015, and, recently, the city has become the focus of highly publicized reconstruction plans and along with plans for the return of its former residents. But the security situation in surrounding areas remains perilous. With approaching Nigerian elections in 2019, the government wants to return people to Bama, but security and stability should dictate returns, not politics.
Ukraine is in the midst of Europe’s largest internal migration crisis since World War II. In April 2014, a pro-Russia separatist rebellion in the heavily populated eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk plunged the country into bitter conflict. And yet, the impact of Ukraine’s ongoing conflict and the humanitarian and early recovery needs of its more than five million conflict-affected citizens are not well publicized. Approximately two million Ukrainians are living close to the ceasefire line separating Ukrainian and pro-separatist forces, another two million live under the control of separatists, and 1.5 million have become internally displaced, overwhelming Ukraine’s local governments as they search for safety, shelter, and survival.