Good Practices Brochure: Internally Displaced People with Intersecting Vulnerabilities
Today there are more internally displaced people worldwide than ever; approximately 59.1 million people have been forced to leave their homes due to armed conflicts, violence or human rights violations and disasters. Evidence indicates that more than half of internally displaced people are women and girls. Different social groups – women, girls, men, boys, older people, people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), people with disabilities and people from ethnic minority groups and marginalized groups – experience internal displacement differently. Displacement reinforces pre-existing discrimination and social and economic disadvantages. Displaced women and girls, in all their diversity, tend to face disproportionate challenges in accessing secure livelihoods, protection, health care and education. These challenges have been exacerbated by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, during which there was a worldwide increase in sexual violence and gender-based violence (GBV), including domestic and intimate partner violence (IPV), school dropouts, early and forced marriages and early pregnancies.
Displaced women and girls and other vulnerable groups that are at particular risk within their country require specific and targeted support. Their needs are rarely prioritized, mainly due to their status as internally displaced people. The United Nations provides a descriptive definition of internally displaced people, which does not confer a special legal status because internally displaced people, being inside their country, remain entitled to all the rights and guarantees of citizens and other habitual residents. National authorities have the primary responsibility to prevent forced displacement and protect internally displaced people. Displacement due to conflict can be sensitive, especially in cases where the Government failed to protect internally displaced people or has perpetuated violence.
In 2021, Asia and the Pacific represented 53.3 per cent of the global total of internally displaced people, most of whom were displaced by disasters triggered by climate and weather extremes. The region is highly vulnerable to destructive disasters on a large scale. Millions of people are affected by hazards such as earthquakes, tropical storms, flooding, landslides, tsunamis, drought and volcanic eruptions. It is estimated that 80 per cent of people displaced by climate change are women. Weather-related hazards, such as cyclones and floods, account for more than 90 per cent of total evacuations in the Asia-Pacific region, while conflicts and civil unrest, such as in Afghanistan, have caused a spike in internal displacement.
Many internally displaced people travel to remote locations where humanitarian assistance is difficult to deliver, and as a result, they are among the most vulnerable people in the world. They face inconceivable humanitarian hardships, such as physical attacks, sexual assaults, abductions and the deprivation of adequate shelter, food and health services. They may remain displaced for a long time before they are able to settle permanently (whether that means returning to their homes or settling in their new host community). It is estimated that periods of displacement may last five years or more.
There is a great need for collaboration among international, regional and local organizations, including local governments, to improve the situation of internally displaced people and prevent further deterioration of their rights and perpetuation of inequalities during their displacement. To understand and better address the needs of vulnerable groups, it is essential to expand data collection on internally displaced people based on sex and age disaggregated data and conduct gender-focused analyses and assessments. It is essential to know the impact of displacement over a long and short period. This brochure gives practical guidance on including internally displaced populations in humanitarian programming and coordination by highlighting recent good practices in the Asia Pacific region.