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Panel Discussions - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Numbers of Internally Displaced People Highest in Decade

The number of people around the world displaced by conflict or violence within their own countries has increased to 27.5 million in 2010, the highest figure in the last decade, according to a new report launched at IPI on March 23rd.

The report, by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, was presented at IPI by Elisabeth Rasmusson, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council; Valerie Amos, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; and Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Secretary- General for Children and Armed Conflict.

Ms. Rasmusson said that that more than half of the internally displaced persons in 2010 were in five countries – Colombia, Sudan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia.

“Close to three million people in 20 countries across the world were newly displaced from conflict and violence during 2010, and large scale displacement continues,” she added.

Ms. Coomaraswamy said that 12.2 million of the displaced in 2010 were children.

Baroness Amos noted that the term “internally displaced person” and its commonly used acronym, IDP, didn’t fully capture the horror experienced by victims. “It’s a horribly bureaucratic term which describes a situation which can be grim, terrifying, demanding and tragic,” she said.

Moderating the panel was Warren Hoge, IPI’s Vice President for External Relations.

The IDP report was also the subject of an IPI luncheon roundtable the same day on "Policy Legislative Instruments for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges." The meeting was held under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution.

Speaking at the session were Ms. Rasmusson; Dr. Francis Deng, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General for the Prevention of Genocide and formerly Special Representative for IDPs; and Dr. Josephine Ojiambo, Deputy Permanent Representative of Kenya to the UN.

Moderating the roundtable conversation was Edward C. Luck, IPI's Senior Vice President for Research and Programs.

Read coverage of the morning event by Edith Lederer of The Associated Press

 Download the 2010 IDP Report

 Read transcript

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