Researching Internal Displacement

This is a summary of papers presented at the conference ‘Researching internal displacement: state of the art’ held in Trondheim, Norway in February 2003. It highlights lessons learned by the growing body of scholars analysing the plight of the millions of people internally displaced by armed conflict and violence, human rights violations, natural or human-made disasters and development projects. It sets out answers to key questions facing IDP researchers: What distinguishes research on internal displacement? What are the main issues in research on internal displacement today? What are the purposes and consequences of research? How can research findings feed into policy, protection and humanitarian response?

Contents
Andreas Danevad and Greta Zeender

After publishing the first volume of Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey in 1998, the Norwegian Refugee Council – through its Global IDP Project –  was encouraged by the humanitarian community to continue the research process by establishing an online mechanism to improve the accessibility of IDP information.

Cecilia Bailliet

The legal researcher seeks to assess the normative clarity, legitimacy, enforcement potential, and empowerment function of the principles created to provide a framework for protection of IDPs.

Birgitte Refslund Sørensen

As researchers strive to make their work policy-relevant, is there a danger that we may inadvertently adopt the perspectives and language of international and state actors and disregard the perspectives and experiences of those people we refer to as the internally displaced?

Karen Jacobsen

There are a number of key methodological and ethical problems confronting social scientists doing field work in humanitarian situations, where the subjects of the research are directly affected by conflict and displacement – whether they are refugees, IDPs or  hosts.

Howard Adelman

The search for an answer gives rise to further questions.

Astri Suhrke

How do concepts about displaced people change?

Roseline Achieng

Prior to elections in 1992 and 1995 ethnic cleansing initiated by political leaders left some 300,000 Kenyans homeless.

Jan Olav Baarøy

Guesstimates of IDP populations in conflict-affected countries vary enormously as many different humanitarian actors gather and present data.

Cecilia Bailliet

As internal displacement is often an indicator of state failure, Guatemala’s ongoing displacement crisis cannot be analysed without regard to the country’s legal system and the political and economic context in which it functions.

Nina M. Birkeland

Angolans have now lived in peace for a whole year. The official number of IDPs declined from 4.1 to 2.8 million in 2002. Has the crisis of displacement in Angola finally come to an end?

Nihad Boqai’

Over a quarter of a million Palestinian citizens of Israel, 25% of the country’s Palestinian Arab population, are internally displaced.

Cathrine Brun

As researchers, one of our roles should be to challenge taken-for-granted attitudes and policies related to internal displacement.

Maria Camilleri

UNHCR’s mandate does not specifically refer to IDPs per se – hardly surprising, as the IDP concept was not in existence when the agency was established.

Danesh Jayatilaka

In 2001, prior to the current cessation of hostilities, the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with UNHCR and the Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement, embarked on a programme to operationalise the Guiding Principles in order to enhance protection and assistance for the estimated 0.8m IDPs in the north and east of the island.

Esra Erdem, Neşet Özevin and Ceren Özselçuk

Between 1984 and 1999 continuous low-intensity conflict between Turkish security forces and Kurdish insurgents in south-east Turkey led to the evacuation of around 3,500 Kurdish villages and produced one of the world’s largest IDP populations – estimated by NGOs at around three million.

Rannveig Bremer Fjær

Displaced people are vulnerable because their resources have been depleted by war, conflict or natural disasters.

Ashraf Kagee and Arancha Garcia Del Soto

Do psychiatrists understand the consequences of the violence and human rights abuses suffered by IDPs? What happens when the hegemonic Western psychiatric model of traumatisation is applied to IDPs?

Rajesh S Kharat

The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), located in south-eastern Bangladesh between India and Burma, are comprised of jungles inhabited by non-Bengali ethnic minorities known collectively as Jummas. Formerly a part of East Pakistan, it become a part of Bangladesh in 1971.

Renu Modi

While we are becoming aware of the impact of large dams on the lives of marginal peoples, do we know enough about the different effects on men and women?

Tamirat Mulu

The border conflict that erupted in May 1998 along the thousand-kilometre border between Ethiopia and Eritrea left behind a legacy of displacement, insecurity, damaged public infrastructure and the loss of household assets and livelihoods of more than 300,000 IDPs and a further 95,000 Ethiopians forced to leave Eritrea.

Maano Ramutsindela

Under apartheid, South Africa witnessed massive politically-motivated displacements, condemned by the UN as crimes against humanity.

Aleksandar Shumkovski

Recently Macedonia has hosted large numbers of refugees fleeing conflict in former Yugoslavia while also dealing with major internal displacement generated by ethnic conflict.

Desire Timngum

IDP debates have focused more on the nature of protection rather than on imbalance between levels of assistance and protection provided to different groups.

Riwanto Tirtosudarmo

What are the ongoing consequences of the demographic engineering carried out in Indonesia to implement ex-President Suharto’s New Order?

Sherly Saragih Turnip

Conflicts in several areas in Indonesia have displaced large numbers of people.

Bediz Yilmaz

In Tarlabasi, an inner-city slum neighbourhood of Istanbul, the majority of the population are Kurds who, in the last 10-15 years, have migrated from their villages in eastern and southeastern Anatolia.

Priyanca Mathur Velath

Are we at risk of making artificial distinctions between different groups of displaced people? Has the category of people who may be described as Development-Induced Displacees (DIDs) been overlooked by the IDP community?

Erin Mooney

Is it too early even to be asking this question? Do we need to decide when the entitlements and benefits of IDP status should end?

Disclaimer
Opinions in FMR do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, the Refugee Studies Centre or the University of Oxford.
Copyright
FMR is an Open Access publication. Users are free to read, download, copy, distribute, print or link to the full texts of articles published in FMR and on the FMR website, as long as the use is for non-commercial purposes and the author and FMR are attributed. Unless otherwise indicated, all articles published in FMR in print and online, and FMR itself, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) licence. Details at www.fmreview.org/copyright.

 

 

facebook logo Twitter logo RSS logo email.png

Forced Migration Review
Refugee Studies Centre
Oxford Department of International Development
University of Oxford
3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB, UK
fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk  +44 (0)1865 281700
skype: fmreview