Displaced person

Displaced person

A displaced person (sometimes abbreviated DP) is a person who has been forced to leave his or her native place, a phenomenon known as forced migration.


Origin of term

The term was first widely used during World War II and the resulting refugee outflows from Eastern Europe,[1] when it was used to specifically refer to one removed from his or her native country as a refugee, prisoner or a slave laborer. The meaning has significantly broadened in the past half-century. A displaced person may also be referred to as a forced migrant. The term "refugee" is also commonly used as a synonym for displaced person, causing confusion between the general descriptive class of anyone who has left their home and the subgroup of legally defined refugees who enjoy specified international legal protection. Most of the victims of war, political refugees and DPs of the immediate post-Second World War period were Ukrainians, Poles and other Slavs who refused to return to Soviet-dominated eastern Europe.

A.J. Jaffe claimed that the term was originally coined by Eugene M. Kulischer.[2]

International law aspects

If the displaced person has crossed an international border and falls under one of the relevant international legal instruments, they are considered a refugee.[3] A forced migrant who left his or her home because of political persecution or violence, but did not cross an international border, is commonly considered to be the less well-defined category of internally displaced person (IDP), and is subject to more tenuous international protection. The forced displacement of a number of refugees or internally displaced persons according to an identifiable policy is an example of population transfer. A displaced person who crosses an international border without permission from the country they are entering is an illegal immigrant. The most visible recent case of this is the large number of North Koreans who have settled in the border region of China.

A migrant who fled because of economic hardship is an economic migrant. A special sub-set of this is development-induced displacement, in which the forced migrant was forced out their home because of economically driven projects like that of the Three Gorges Dam in China and various Indian dams. The internally displaced person generally refers to one who is forced to migrate for reasons other than economic conditions, such as war or persecution. There is a body of opinion that holds that persons subject to development-induced displacement should have greater legal protection than that granted economic migrants.

Persons are often displaced due to natural or man-made disasters. Displacement can also occur as a result of slow-onset climate change, such as desertification or sea-level rise. A person who is displaced due to environmental factors which negatively impact his or her livelihood is generally known as an environmental migrant. Such displacement can be cross-border in nature but is frequently internal. No specific international legal instrument applies to such individuals. Foreign nations often offer disaster relief to mitigate the effects of such disaster displacement.

Following the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the term "refugee" was sometimes used to describe people displaced by the storm and the aftereffects. There was an outcry that the term should not be used to describe Americans displaced within their own county, and the term "evacuee" was substituted in its place.[4] The UNHCR similarly opposes the use of the term 'refugee' in reference to environmental migrants, as this term has a strict legal definition.[5]

Derogatory Term

"DP" has also been used a derogatory term used when referring to immigrants, specifically those from Eastern Europe coming to the United States, who have not been forced out of their native countries.[citation needed] For example, Ukrainian immigrants from the "first wave" immigration (1890–1924) greatly resented the immigrants who came in the "second wave" after the Second World War, as the latter group were perceived not as "poor refugees" but as persons who had managed to leave Europe and bring considerable wealth with them.[citation needed][dubious ]

See also


  1. ^ Mark Wyman: Dps: Europe's Displaced Persons, 1945-1951. Cornell University Press 1998 (reprint). ISBN 0-8014-8542-8.
  2. ^ A. J. Jaffe: Notes on the Population Theory of Eugene M. Kulischer. In: The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2. (April 1962). Pp. 187-206.(online)
  3. ^ U.N. Convention relating to status of Refugees
  4. ^ Associated Press story on debate
  5. ^ [www.unhcr.org/research/RESEARCH/3ae6a0d00.pdf]
  • Luciuk, Lubomyr, "Ukrainian Displaced Persons, Canada and the Migration of Memory," University of Toronto Press, 2000.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Displaced Person — (DP; engl. für eine „Person, die nicht an diesem Ort beheimatet ist“) war die Bezeichnung des Hauptquartiers der alliierten Streitkräfte (SHAEF) für eine Zivilperson, die sich kriegsbedingt außerhalb ihres Heimatstaates aufhält und ohne Hilfe… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Displaced Person (TV) — Displaced Person is a 1985 Emmy award winning drama based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It was directed by Alan Bridges and adapted by Fred Barron from a story in the Welcome to the Monkey House collection. The title of the story in that… …   Wikipedia

  • displaced person — displaced persons N COUNT A displaced person is someone who has been forced to leave the place where they live, especially because of a war …   English dictionary

  • displaced person — n. a person forced from his or her country, esp. as a result of war, and left homeless elsewhere …   English World dictionary

  • displaced person — index derelict Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • Displaced Person — Dis|placed Per|son 〈[dısplɛıst pœ:sn] f.; , s; Abk.: D. P.〉 im 2. Weltkrieg nach Deutschland (od. in die von deutschen Truppen besetzten Gebiete) verschleppte Person [engl., „verschleppte Person“] * * * Dis|placed Per|son [ dɪspleɪsd pə:sn̩ ],… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • displaced person — UK [ˌdɪspleɪst ˈpɜː(r)s(ə)n] / US [ˌdɪspleɪst ˈpɜrs(ə)n] noun [countable] Word forms displaced person : singular displaced person plural displaced persons someone who has been forced to leave their own country and live somewhere else, for example …   English dictionary

  • displaced person — noun a person forced to flee from home or country • Syn: ↑DP, ↑stateless person • Hypernyms: ↑refugee * * * diˌsplaced ˈperson [displaced person] n …   Useful english dictionary

  • Displaced Person — Dis|placed Per|son [dis pleist pə:sn] die; , s <aus engl. displaced person »verschleppte Person«> Bez. für einen Ausländer, der im 2. Weltkrieg nach Deutschland verschleppt wurde; <ausländischer Zwangsarbeiter; Abk.: D. P …   Das große Fremdwörterbuch

  • displaced person — perkeltasis asmuo statusas T sritis Gynyba apibrėžtis Civilis, kuris ne savo noru yra už savo valstybės ribų. atitikmenys: angl. displaced person pranc. personne deplacée ryšiai: dar žiūrėk – evakuojamieji dar žiūrėk – pabėgėliai …   NATO terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

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