Christian Aid has hailed the arrival of a new global campaign launched today by United Nations agencies and charities, to emphasise the need for urgent and renewed action on the problem of internal displacement.
Launched on the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the new campaign is a ‘proud moment’ for the international community, says Christian Aid, as the charity continues to raise awareness of those fleeing their homes as a result of conflict, violence and climate change, yet who remain within their own countries.
The campaign calls for better protection for internally displaced people (IDPs), to improve their choice for lasting solutions, and for the prevention of arbitrary displacement in line with the Guiding Principles.
Speaking from the UN in Geneva, Christian Aid’s Senior Advisor for Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, Jane Backhurst, said: “Today, finally, the light is shone on tens of millions of people often left in the dark.
“More than 40.5 million people are displaced internally due to armed conflict and violence – over two-thirds of those displaced globally – and tens of millions more are displaced every year due to hazard-related ‘natural’ disasters.
“This is a proud moment for the UN and States standing collectively with those displaced internally. It is also a proud moment for Christian Aid, seeing our efforts pay off and doing what we do best: championing the rights and protection of people most often left behind.
“Christian Aid stands with those millions displaced internally, with the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced people, and with States and UN agencies willing to ensure this campaign brings results. We know that some States are taking positive action, but more needs to be done and quickly.
“Last Friday’s pledging conference for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) might be a first step for communities hosting displaced people, with over 4.5 million people displaced internally in the African nation, mostly due to armed conflict. However, while the UK’s additional £22 million contribution to meet the $1.68 billion needed is welcome, urgent action is needed to address this escalating crisis and the plight of IDPs.”
Christian Aid is working with local partner organisations in regions across the world, including Borno in north-east Nigeria, South Sudan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the DRC, to provide relief and protection to those displaced. In Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, the charity’s partners are supporting the Rohingya, formerly displaced in Myanmar and now refugees.
Ms Backhurst added: “This work with our partners illustrates that locally-led responses, those led by communities, can work best. This is where the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit’s commitment to ‘localise’ aid becomes critical and real.
“We believe a practical first step to mobilise this could be for the UN Secretary-General to show continued leadership by commissioning an independent expert report to gather information about the plight of IDPs and to determine what good State practice already exists.
“But people everywhere can shine the light and stand alongside IDPs by joining the campaign at www.gp20.org”