UN report says internal displacement at highest level in 2009

New York- US (PANA) -- More than 27 million people were uprooted by violence with in their countries in 2009, the highest number since the mid-1990s, according to a new UN-backed study.
The report, entitled: "Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Deve lopments" was made available to the Pan African News Agency (PANA) on Tuesday.
It listed six countries with the largest Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) pop ulations, which include: Sudan, with nearly 5 million, Colombia, with between 3.
3 and 4.
9 million, Iraq, with almost 2.
8 million, the Democratic Republic of the C ongo (DRC), with nearly 2 million, Somalia, with 1.
5 million and Pakistan, with 1 .
2 million.
It also disclosed that Africa witnessed the greatest volume of internal displace ment, with a total of 11.
6 million IDPs in 21 countries, while South and South-E a st Asia saw the biggest jump in numbers of IDPs from 3.
5 million in 2008 to 4.
3 m illion in 2009.
The report attributed the rising number of IDPs to long-running internal conflic ts.
It also found that the number of IDPs has soared from 17 million in 1997 to more than 27 million last year, while the number of refugees has remained fairly sta b le, fluctuating between 13 million and 16 million in the same period.
"The term IDP and other jargon do not come close to doing justice to the truly a wful experience of being displaced, disoriented, traumatized, confused, fearful, disempowered, dependent, helpless," John Holmes, UN Under Secretary-General for H umanitarian Affairs, said at the reportâ?s launch on Monday in London.
PANA learnt that the publication was produced by the Internal Displacement Monit oring Centre (IDMC), which was set up by the Norwegian Refugee Council, an NGO, a t the request of the UN.
The report also stated that last year alone, 6.
8 million people were newly displ aced.
The study also found that in 21 countries, people were born into and grew to adu lthood in displacement.
"Only when we have assisted people to find a truly durable solution, whether thr ough returning home where they are, or being relocated elsewhere, should we cons i der that we have done our job," Holmes said.
But this, he emphasised, "is contingent on the conditions being ripe for return.
"In Darfur, for example, although IDPs want desperately to go home, progress is needed on the political and security front for this to become a reality.
" The UN under secretary-general also said: "For any of the solution options to be genuinely lasting, they must be voluntary, safe and dignified.
"We have learned from bitter experience that if these conditions are not met, ID Ps will remain vulnerable to violence, discrimination and poverty, and at seriou s risk of re-displacement," he said.
He, however, projected that, "this year will be just as difficult for uprooted p eople as it was in 2009, requiring humanitarian agencies, as well as those in ot h er fields, to work towards durable solutions.
"Particularly important," Holmes said, "is to ensure that IDPs themselves have a real say in the political and development decisions that affect their lives.

18 may 2010 14:50:00

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