Press release

Christian Aid welcomes United Nations’ push for action to support the globally displaced

Christian Aid welcomes the new appointment of eight members to the United Nation’s Secretary General’s, António Guterres, High Level Panel on Internal Displacement, as the organisation continues to call for global action to be taken to protect those forced from home through conflict, violence and climate change.

Christian Aid’s Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, Jane Backhurst said: “It is a great privilege to speak at the inaugural meeting of the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Internal Displacement in Geneva, a panel that Christian Aid has called for since 2017.

“It is a welcome move forward to address the global problem of internal displacement at a time when the number of people forced from their homes is the highest since World War Two.

“We are incredibly thankful to Christian Aid’s supporters for their ongoing activism to raise awareness and back our calls to protect the millions of people who have been displaced, through conflict, violence and climate change.
“Today over 41.3 million people are displaced due to conflict and violence, and since 2008 an average of 24 million people are displaced every year as a result of sudden-onset disasters, a majority of which are weather and climate-related.

“The situation in Idlib, northwest Syria, is at breaking point with at least 900,000 civilians displaced through shelling from the Russian military and Syrian government since December.  The Syrian conflict is nearing its tenth year, and camps housing internally displaced people (IDPs) remain under-funded and well past capacity.

“Approximately 1.8 million people are internally displaced in South Sudan, as a result of ongoing conflict and violence that has killed an estimated 400,000 people during the past six years.  We hope that the country’s new Unity government will play a key role in ending the conflict, but the situation is fragile and needs much support.

“Climate change also continues to be a major driver in displacement, with millions forced from their homes in Eastern Africa following Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth, which both destroyed millions of homes and much-needed crops, while extended drought across Southern Africa is forcing people to leave their homes in search of water, food and pasture.

“The Panel has one year to deliver, and we are hopeful that it will ultimately help rally States to listen to communities affected by internal displacement so that they drive humanitarian action, are better protected and can build their resilience.”

Photo credit: Christian Aid/Silvano Yokwe.

Photo caption: Elisa and her family were forced from South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as a result of ongoing conflict. They now live in a small shelter, and her husband makes charcoal to sell in order to buy food.  Elisa has benefitted from a Christian Aid-supported project that provides training in growing crops and teaches women about the benefits of saving money in the village savings and loans organisation.