News

Arab Spring Drives Up Global Numbers of Internally Displaced

Hassana Abu Firasl, left, a Syrian woman who fled from the Syrian town of Qusair near Homs, is seen with her family at the Lebanese-Syrian border village of Qaa, eastern Lebanon, Monday, March 5, 2012.
Hassana Abu Firasl, left, a Syrian woman who fled from the Syrian town of Qusair near Homs, is seen with her family at the Lebanese-Syrian border village of Qaa, eastern Lebanon, Monday, March 5, 2012.
Lisa Schlein

A new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council finds 26.4 million people were internally displaced by conflicts around the world last year.  It reports the Arab Spring uprisings are a key factor behind a significant rise in the populations who became uprooted from their homes in 2011.

The report finds 3.5 million people were newly displaced during 2011, a jump of 20 percent from 2010. Of these, the report notes 830,000 fled the impact of the Arab Spring uprisings.  

The author of the report, Kate Halff, said 230,000 Syrians have become displaced within their own country since the onset of the current crisis more than one year ago. She said the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, which was established by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 1998, has been tracking the displacement situation in Syria for many years.

“This recent displacement adds to already longstanding displacement in the country. Prior to the uprisings in 2011, more than 400,000 people already had been living as internally displaced people in Syria, and some for over 40 years. If you add to this the number of displacements over the last 12 months or so, Syria becomes one of the largest displacement situations in the world,” said Halff.

The report cites other large-scale displacements in 2011 in addition to those caused by the Arab Spring. It says the number of new displacements in Afghanistan was 80 percent higher than in the year before as fighting spread to new regions of that country.

It says up to one million people in Ivory Coast were internally displaced at the start of last year following violence triggered by a disputed presidential election. Although stability has returned to the country, the report says displacement continues because of localized violence in central and western Ivory Coast.  

The report says hundreds of thousands of people have been uprooted in both Sudan and in newly-independent South Sudan due to armed forces fighting rebels and militias.

Large-scale internal displacements also occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Somalia, where many people died of starvation due to a regional drought and famine.  

The secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Elisabeth Rasmussen, warns that a new crisis, which is likely to cause more displacement, is shaping up in Somalia this year.

“New reports are already indicating a lack of rain this year, so we might have another drought happening this year, adding to an already very high level of human suffering," said Rasmussen. "Last year, we were too late to respond. This year, we have to take the warning seriously and respond in time.”  

Despite these crises, the report finds displacement generally is decreasing in Africa. It says the number of internally displaced persons went down from 11.1 million to 9.7 million, with significant returns taking place in Ivory Coast, Chad and Uganda.

The report cites Colombia as the country with the largest number of internally displaced people in the world. It says criminal networks, which were former parties to the country’s conflict, were the main drivers of displacement.

It says between 3.9 and 5.2 million Colombians were internally displaced at the end of 2011. It says people mainly fled their homes in fear of armed groups involved in drug trafficking.

The report notes internally displaced people [IDPs] are among the most vulnerable and forgotten people in the world. Refugees who cross into another country are protected by an international Convention.

IDPs, on the other hand, remain under the protection of their own governments. The report notes that governments sometimes lose control of their own territory, so they end up being part of the problem and not the solution.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs