The Elephant in the Room: Internally Displaced People in urban settings

Van Vollenhoven Institute
Democratic Republic of Congo

In spite of their mind blowing numbers, internally displaced people (IDPs), especially those within urban settings, tend to receive much less attention than refugees. This document reflects on a number of questions that are critical in developing policy and programming for urban IDPs such as: How to define urban IDPs and does it make sense to distinguish them from others? Until when can somebody be qualified as IDP? Can somebody still be considered an IDP when the security situation has improved? Where can we find IDPs? It is shown that answers are not straightforward as categorizations are blurred in space and time. We argue that urban IDPs deserve more attention and more efforts to be made visible, because they constitute a large part of the displaced people worldwide; because they may have particular needs that non-displaced or displaced in camps do not have; and because their presence has a high impact on the hosting communities leading to a raised conflict potential.

Download PDF
Join our network

Login or register for free to get all access to our network publications. Members can also connect and discuss with other members. Participate in our network.

Thank you for downloading
Help us improve our network. Please fill in the questions.