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The ICRC's activities in favour of the displaced: 2007 operational overview

02-09-2008 Operational Update

Afghanistan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan were among the many countries in which countless women, men and children had their lives torn apart by armed conflicts in 2007. Direct attacks on civilian communities, general insecurity and the destruction of livelihoods forced innumerable civilians to flee their homes. Assisting and protecting internally displaced people (IDPs), who are protected under international humanitarian law (IHL), remained one of the ICRC’s priorities throughout 2007.

During the year, the ICRC’s partnerships with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies proved crucial in several countries. The National Societies often played a pivotal role in responding rapidly to needs or reaching people in remote regions.

Any protection and assistance strategy which aimed at preventing displacement of civilian populations or effectively addressing the needs of displaced persons and returnees had to remain flexible, so as to take into account the great diversity of situations in which displacement occurs. For example:

  •  Armed conflict with major humanitarian crises of a sudden and large-scale nature , such as the conflict in Darfur (Sudan), Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Afghanistan or Iraq which called for an urgent response and for strengthened coordination between the players involved in order to provide support for people already displaced and prevent others from suffering the same fate;

  •  Uprising of armed violence affecting civilian populations and provoking displacement of populations such as in Kenya, Central African Republic, the Philippines, Zimbabwe and Pakistan .

  •  Longstanding conflicts , such as those affecting certain regions of Colomb ia, , in the northern Caucasus, in Uganda, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau or the Central African Republic which have left an already fragile population in utter destitution, or where following displacement people have settled permanently where they are instead of returning home;

  •  “Frozen” conflicts and humanitarian needs in post-conflict situations , such as those in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Liberia, Nepal calling for the sustained presence of humanitarian agencies long after the peak of violence is past and for protection and assistance for both displaced persons and returnees;

  •  Natural disasters striking already vulnerable populations and where the ICRC is already present in the field such as in Somalia, Nepal, Pakistan, Burkina Faso.  

Worldwide, more than 4 million IDPs benefited from ICRC relief activities [1 ] in 37 countries[2 ] . From January to June 2008, the ICRC has developed humanitarian activities in favour of more than 2.5 million IDPs globally.



 1. These figures do not include all the countries in which the ICRC conducted activities designed to restore family links and therefore do not cover all the individual cases handled (IDPs or returnees who sent or received family news, those located by the Red Cross/Red Crescent family news network at the request of their families and those transferred elsewhere or reunited with their families).  


 2. Africa: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe. Asia and the Pacific: Afghanistan, Indonesia, Lao People Democratic Republic, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste. Europe and the Americas: Azerbaijan, Brazil, Colombia, Georgia, Panama Russian Federation (Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia), Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo. Middle East and North Africa: Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen.