IDPs and Conflict: episode 7

Violence-driven Internally displaced people in Colombia Violence-driven Internally displaced people in Colombia © Ana Karina Delgado Diaz/NRC

In Focus by Camilla Lavino

While the previous episodes analysed the most affected regions by conflict-induced displacements, this report aims to demonstrate that conflict and violence are still major drivers of internal displacement even in areas that are most traditionally afflicted by climate and disaster-induced internal displacement. 

In particular, attention will be drawn on the following regions: South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, and the Americas. Although these regions did not register displacement figures comparable to those presented in previous reports, their internal displacement situation triggered by conflict and violence must be reported in order to portray a more comprehensive picture of this phenomenon.

In South Asia, the Conflict and violence prompted displacement in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka in 2019. In particular, the region as a whole experienced around 498,000 new displacements as of the end of the year (IDMC, 2020). Similarly, around 4 million people were living in internal displacement in the region due to conflict and violence as of the end of 2019 (IDMC, 2020). Although the annual total decreased over the past ten years primarily due to the de-escalation of violence in Pakistan, Afghanistan’s conflict still shows no sign of waning. Moreover, the highly volatile situation on both sides of the line of control in disputed Kashmir remains a concern. In fact, Afghanistan accounted for 75 per cent of the regional total (IDMC, 2020). 

Conflict and violence also prompted displacement in East Asia and the Pacific in 2019. Around 288,000 new displacements were registered across the whole region and about 734,000 people were living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence as of the end of 2019 (IDMC, 2020). In particular, the most affected countries in the region were Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea (IDMC, 2020). 

Europe and Central Asia instead registered relatively little displacement compared with other regions in 2019, In particular, the lowest number of new conflict displacements was reported since 2014, primarily thanks to de-escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine. (IDMC, 2020). Nonetheless, more than 2.8 million people are still living in internal displacement in the region as a result of the war in Ukraine and previous conflicts in Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Russia and Turkey (IDMC, 2020). While the conditions and length of people’s displacement vary and has improved across regions, the IDMC reports that some IDPs have been displaced for as long as twenty years. 

Finally, the Americas registered 602,000 new displacements due to conflict and violence in 2019 (IDMC, 2020). Around 6.5 million people were living in internal displacement in the region as a result of conflict and violence at the end of the 2019 (IDMC, 2020). In particular, the number of displacements increased comparted to 2018 largely due to criminal and gang violence in Central and South America (IDMC, 2020). This violence was mainly concentrated in urban areas, prompting displacement not only within towns and cities but also across borders. Nonetheless, rural areas were not excluded from this phenomenon. 

 

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