In 2016, more than 64.5 million people were internally displaced due to both conflicts and natural disasters. Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are often portrayed as the forgotten majority in the discussion on forced displacement. Impact of internal displacement is often severe, both at individual level and for the societies. It often entails in the loss of homes, land, belongings and livelihoods, the disruption of family and community life and the loss of human capital as well as community resilience. Assistance to IDPs has often failed in making IDPs more self-reliant, having a more dignified life and accessing durable solutions.
2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. The EU strongly supports these Principles, their guidance is as important today as it was 20 years ago and we continue to promote their inclusion into international and national law and standards.
The EU approach to forced displacement and development outlined in the 2016 Communication 'Lives in Dignity' and accompanying Council Conclusions, fully applies to situations of internal displacement. As such, the EU is supportive of steps to address internal displacement more effectively, both in terms of global policy and on the ground.
It is essential to ensure that responses
- require first and foremost a responsibilization of the state to address the needs of its own citizens
- include a development perspective from the outset of the crisis
- are part of an overall crisis response reflecting that many persons affected by a crisis are not displaced.
Actions in areas where IDPs are present (whether displaced or returning) are targeted to address the vulnerabilities rather than only the displaced.
The European Commission's development cooperation and support also addresses the needs of IDPs. The support ranges from access to services and income generation (Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Afghanistan), health (DR Congo), housing (Sri Lanka, Afghanistan) and facilitating voluntary return (Pakistan). Responses in Afghanistan, Central African Republic and Somalia reflect linkages to refugee return and the importance of social cohesion. Child protection is an important dimension in this regard in Central America. Activities to improve coordination, including with EU Member States, are ongoing, e.g. in Sudan and Iraq.
The European Commisssion's humanitarian response is very much focused on internal displacement with around 40% of the annual funding addressing IDP situations and responding to needs of internally displaced in the 20 most affected countries.