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Internally Displaced Persons Lack Effective Protection

Internally displaced persons--those forced to flee their homes because of armed conflict and persecution but who remain within their own country— are among the most at-risk, vulnerable populations in the world. They typically differ from refugees only by the fact that they have not crossed an international border as refugees have. Governments are responsible for protecting and aiding their own citizens; however, some cannot do so or actively persecute groups of their citizens, thus creating a displacement crisis. When this happens, international organizations, such as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee for the Red Cross, acting in response to international humanitarian and human rights law help protect and assist the estimated 20 million internally displaced persons in over 50 countries. The charters of these organizations, and their governing bodies, acknowledge the sovereignty of each state to deal with internally displaced persons as an internal matter but also recognize the obligation of international organizations to help address humanitarian and human rights crises

Foreign Affairs / US General Accounting Office,