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 Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora