Press release

Christian Aid welcomes UN Human Rights Council move to include voices of people displaced by violence and conflict

People uprooted from their homes by conflict and violence are set to attend the UN Human Rights Council’s first High Level Panel on internal displacement in Geneva this week, in a move hailed by Christian Aid in a move hailed by Christian Aid, 20 years after the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Development were introduced.

Christian Aid guests from Nigeria and South Sudan will speak in Geneva on behalf of their communities, and in solidarity with the world’s 40 million internally displaced people, who have been forced from their homes yet remain within their own countries. Addressing global government representatives, they will share their personal experiences and highlight what should be done to support displaced communities like their own.

Jane Backhurst, Christian Aid’s Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Adviser, welcomed the Council’s move to involve voices of displaced people. She said: “This is a major step forward for the Human Rights Council and the rights of internally displaced people, and we’re proud that the UN and a host of governments in the Human Rights Council have collectively driven this initiative.

“Seventy-six percent of internally displaced people (IDPs) live in just ten countries, with many shaken by armed conflict, drought or both. Our guests, Orpha and Cleto, are two voices from the hundreds of thousands of IDPs who Christian Aid works with: from the ‘forgotten’ emergency in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where numbers of displaced swelled by over 2 million in 2017 to over 4.5 million today, to Nigeria, where 2 million people are malnourished – as well as millions displaced by conflict in South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.”

One guest speaker, Orpha, saw her village destroyed during armed conflict, forcing her and her family to seek refuge in a relief camp in Maiduguri in Borno state, northern Nigeria.

Cleto, who works for Christian Aid partner organisation Hope Agency for Relief and Development in South Sudan, will voice the views he has gathered from many IDPs in preparation for this week’s high level meetings, and how organisations can improve their support to some of the millions of people facing violence and discrimination in the east African country.

Orpha and Cleto will contribute to talks with global government representatives and UN delegates at the first ever High Level Panel discussion on internal displacement, on Tuesday 26th June, and address them alongside two other internally displaced people at a formal UN meeting hosted by States on Wednesday. Cleto, and Orpha who has received food, water and other aid from Christian Aid in Maiduguri, will also address an audience at a special UN plenary session on Friday 29th June.

Ms Backhurst added: “This is what Christian Aid does best – we highlight what may seem to be the most desperate issues and we shine the light on those who are most marginalised until we meet our campaign’s goals: to prevent people from being forcibly displaced again; to strengthen their protection and support the durable solutions they choose.

“These special meetings in Geneva come two months after UN agencies and charities launched the GP20 campaign, which is calling on governments and the international community to recognise internal displacement as a global issue, protect those displaced forcibly inside their own countries, and take action to prevent and reduce internal displacement. This week’s talks will help highlight the plight and hopes of these people, who are often left in the dark.”

Find out more about the GP20 campaign at