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Internally Displaced Person (IDP)

What is an Internally Displaced Person (IDP)?

An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is someone who has been forced to flee their home but remains within the borders of their country. Although IDPs are often referred to as “refugees,” they do not have legal refugee status under international law. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, there were 71.1 million IDPs at the end of 2022, with 62.5 million as a result of conflict and violence and 8.7 million as a result of disasters.

Key Takeaways

  • An Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is someone who has been forced to flee their home but remains within the borders of their origin country.
  • IDPs do not have legal refugee status under international law, though they are often referred to as “refugees.”
  • IDPs frequently become refugees as they are compelled to seek safety beyond their country's borders due to escalating conflict or dire humanitarian conditions.

Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

Internally displaced persons have the same rights and freedoms under national and international law as other individuals in their country. In other words, the law cannot discriminate against IDPs, and they have full access to international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law. Unfortunately, some governments do not honor the rights of IDPs which can leave these individuals vulnerable and at risk of humanitarian crisis. The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which was created in 1998, aimed to restate the existing rights of the internally displaced. In its essence, the 30 principles emphasize that IDPS are entitled to enjoy the same rights as other persons in their country. Here are a few examples of rights ensured through the Guiding Principles:

  • The right to protection from physical violence
  • Freedom of movement and residence
  • The right to education
  • Freedom of expression and thought, conscience, religion, and opinion
  • The right to participate in public affairs and economic activities 
  • Additional protection for children, expectant mothers, persons with disabilities and elderly persons 
  • The right to protected against being arbitrarily displaced
  • The right to seek safety in another part of their country or seek asylum in another country
  • The right to an adequate standard of living
  • Protection against deprivation of property and possessions
  • Safe access to food and water, shelter, clothing and essential medical services
  • IDPs must not be discriminated against due to race, sex, religion, social origin or language.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, understanding the rights and needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is essential for ensuring their safety and well-being. At Attorney At Law, we are committed to providing support and guidance to all those in need. If you have any questions about IDPs or seeking asylum, get in touch with an immigration attorney today.

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