News / Africa

2012 Sees Record Number of IDPs

A view shows debris along a street of damaged buildings by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Homs, Apr. 8, 2013.
A view shows debris along a street of damaged buildings by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Homs, Apr. 8, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on internally displaced people

Joe DeCapua
The number of people displaced within their own countries by armed conflict, violence and human rights violations totaled nearly 30-million in 2012. Many of the newly displaced were in Syria and the eastern Congo.


Clare Spurrell of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center said there were record numbers of IDPs, or internally displaced people, last year.

“This last year we saw 28.8 million people who are now internally displaced as a consequence of conflict. This is an increase of two-point-four-million compared to the previous year. And much of this dramatic increase is due to the numbers of people who were newly displaced during the year. So here we saw six-point-five-million people newly displaced, which is an increase of almost 50-percent as compared to 2011, the previous year,” she said.

The final displacement figure is determined by adding the number of newly displaced in 2012 to the 2011 total -- and then subtracting the millions who actually returned home last year.

Spurrell said that there were different reasons for people being newly displaced in 2011 compared to 2012.

“In 2011, it was very much the Arab Spring uprising and the post-election violence in Cote d’Ivoire, which caused a lot of the new displacement that year. This last year we’ve seen the new displacement caused by the escalating violence in eastern DRC and of course the on-going conflict in Syria, which caused really the majority of new displacement.”

Spurrell described Syria as the “fastest evolving internal displacement crisis in the world.”

“The acceleration is very much due to the fluidity of the conflict and the fact that there’s very much a lack of clear front lines and the subsequent close relationship between internal displacement and the conflict hotspots,” she said.

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, there were one-million newly internally displaced people in 2012. But there are many people in the region who’ve been displaced for quite some time. Overall, there are nearly three-million internally displaced people there.

“These are people who have faced really multiple displacements at the hands of a variety of armed groups within a context of where there’s very much generalized insecurity within the country and a very much weak rule of law. Just to give you an idea of the sort of escalation and the kind of numbers we’re looking at – the March 23 Movement, which is a new armed group in the region, attacked Goma in November last year and in one week alone 140,000 people were displaced,” said Spurrell.

Sub-Saharan Africa has 10.4-million IDPs. That’s almost one-third of the world total. Numerous conflicts are the reason.

She said, “These very violent conflicts include those in eastern DRC, which I’ve mentioned, but also Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia are all included.”

But Spurrell said that the country with the largest population of IDPs is not in in the Mideast or sub-Saharan Africa, but rather South America. Colombia has between five and five and a half million internally displaced people due to high levels of crime-related violence and armed conflict.

“Colombia, DRC and now, indeed, Syria are all situations where there are a real protracted conflict situations, where millions of people are stuck in this protracted displacement situation completely reliant on aid often for many years,” she said.

Despite the figures, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center says there is some encouraging news. Over the last 15 years, about 25 countries have adopted laws and policies to protect IDPs. This includes the Kampala Convention in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s the world’s first legally binding treaty that protects the displaced. Since IDPs have not crossed borders of neighboring countries they are not considered refugees. As a result, many may receive little or no assistance. 
.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid