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The ICRC's response to internal displacement: strengths, challenges and constraints

30-09-2009 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 875, by Jakob Kellenberger

The often highly complex and fluid nature of displacement on the ground makes coverage of internally displaced persons' (IDPs') needs a difficult task, and a flexible response is required to fit different contexts. In identifying and responding to needs, the ICRC looks at the whole context in which internal displacement occurs, as well as all the people affected.

Abstract 

The often highly complex and fluid nature of displacement on the ground makes coverage of IDPs’ needs a difficult task, and a flexible response is required to fit different contexts. The ICRC’s humanitarian response is guided by the vulnerability and the needs of all people affected by armed conflict and violence – including, of course, IDPs, whose vulnerability is often (but not automatically) exacerbated by their particular situation. The protection and assistance of IDPs therefore naturally lies at the heart of the ICRC’s mandate and activities. In identifying and responding to needs, the ICRC looks at the whole context in which internal displacement occurs, as well as all the people affected. The aim is to promote self-reliance among vulnerable communities so as to avoid displacement, or to strengthen their capacity to host IDPs. Nevertheless, where needed, the ICRC also fills gaps by providing emergency aid in IDP camps, coordinating with other international organizations in order to optimize response.  

Biography

Jakob Kellenberger is the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.


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