Internally displaced person


Internally displaced person

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people forced to flee their homes but who, unlike refugees, remain within their country's borders. At the end of 2006 estimates of the world IDP population rose to 24.5 million in some 52 countries. The region with the largest IDP population is Africa with some 11.8 million in 21 countries. cite web|url=http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/9251510E3E5B6FC3C12572BF0029C267/$file/Global_Overview_2006.pdf |title=Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2006 |accessdate=2007-10-23 |month=April | year=2007 |publisher=Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) |format=PDF]

Definition

There is no legal definition as there is for a refugee. However, a United Nations report, "Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement" uses the definition:

internally displaced persons are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border. Citation| first=Francis | last=Deng| coauthors=| contribution=The guiding principles on internal displacement| title=E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.l, February 11. New York, NY: United Nations| editor-first=| editor-last=| coeditors=| publisher=United Nations| place=New York| pages=| date=| year=| id= | contribution-url=http://www.reliefweb.int/ocha_ol/pub/idp_gp/idp.html| format=| accessdate=2007-10-23 ]

While the above stresses two important elements of internal displacement (coercion and the domestic/internal movement) it is important to note that rather than a strict definition, the Guiding Principles offer “a descriptive identification of the category of persons whose needs are the concern of the Guiding Principles” [KALIN, G. “Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Annotations.” The American Society of International Law & The Brookings Institute Project on Internal Displacement. Studies in Transnational Legal Policy, No. 32, 2000.] . In this way, the document “intentionally steerstoward flexibility rather than legal precision” [VINCENT, M, “IDPs: rights and status”, Forced Migration Review, (8) August 2000, p. 30.] as the words “in particular” indicate that the list of reasons for displacement is not exhaustive. However, as Erin Mooney has pointed out, “global statistics on internal displacement generally count only IDPs uprooted by conflict and human rights violations. Moreover, a recent study has recommended that the IDP concept should be defined even more narrowly, to be limited to persons displaced by violence.” [MOONEY, E. “The Concept of Internal Displacement and the Case for Internally Displaced Persons as a Category of Concern.” Refugee Survey Quarterly. (24) 3, 2005, p. 12.] Thus, despite the non-exhaustive reasons of internal displacement, many consider IDPs as those who would be defined as refugees if they were to cross an international border hence the term refugees in all but name is often applied to IDPs.

IDP populations

It is very difficult to get accurate figures for IDPs because populations are constantly fluctuating: some IDPs may be returning home while others are fleeing, others may periodically return to IDP camps to take advantage of humanitarian aid. While the case of IDPs in large camps such as those in Darfur, western Sudan, are relatively well-reported, it is very difficult to assess those IDPs who flee to larger towns and cities. It is necessary in many instances to supplement official figures with additional information obtained from operational humanitarian organizations on the ground. Thus, the 24.5 million figure must be treated as an estimate.cite book | last = IDMC | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2006 | publisher = Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Norwegian Refugee Council | month = April | year = 2006 | location = Geneva | pages = | url = http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/9251510E3E5B6FC3C12572BF0029C267/$file/Global_Overview_2006.pdf p. 13] Additionally, most official figures only include those displaced by conflict or natural disasters. Development-induced IDPs often are not included in assessments.

IDP Statistics

The largest IDP populations can be found in Colombia, the DRC, Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, and Uganda, each with IDP populations of over one million. cite web|url=http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpPages)/22FB1D4E2B196DAA802570BB005E787C?OpenDocument&count=1000 |title=Global Statistics |accessdate=2007-10-24 |publisher=IDMC ] An updated country by country breakdown can be found at: [http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpPages)/22FB1D4E2B196DAA802570BB005E787C?OpenDocument&count=1000 IDMC Global Statistics] It has been estimated that between 70 and 80% of all IDPs are women and children. [cite book | last = IDMC | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2006 | publisher = Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Norwegian Refugee Council | month = April | year = 2006 | location = Geneva | pages = | url = http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/9251510E3E5B6FC3C12572BF0029C267/$file/Global_Overview_2006.pdf p. 6]

Countries with significant IDP populations

* Azerbaijan has 800,000 Internally displaced people due to the occupation of Nagorno-Karabagh, Agdam and surrounding territories by Armenian forces since the early 1990s.
* Burundi due to fighting between government and Hutu rebel groups.
* Burma (Myanmar) due to decades of a long civil war and government repression of ethnic minorities as well as the May cyclone.
* Chad due to proximity to Darfur and civil war in eastern Chad.
* Colombia due to the war between the government, FARC, the AUC and other armed groups. According to the UNHCR, the number of IDPs is near the million people (2002).
* Cyprus due to the intercommunal troubles of 1964 and the 1974 Turkish invasion and aftermath.
* The Democratic Republic of Congo due to the Second Congo War.
* Ethiopia due to poverty, natural disasters and conflict in the Somali Region
* Georgia due to the ethnic Georgian population who fled Abkhazia following the civil war of 1991-93.
* Iraq due to forced displacement during Saddam Hussein's regime, and fighting between the Multi-National Force and Iraqi insurgent groups.
* Indian-occupied Kashmir due to insurgency
* India - 50 million people were internally displaced since 1950 due to haphazard industrial projects. [http://www.indiatogether.org/2003/mar/env-wtr-intlnkeph.htm]
* Kenya - Due to violence that rocked the the country in 2008 after the elections of 2007
* Israel-150,000-420,000 Internally Displaced Palestinians and Bedouins, most of whom are Arab citizens of Israel
* Serbia due to various conflicts across the Former Yugoslavia
* Somalia due to the Somali Civil War.
* Sri Lanka due to the civil war between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE.
* Sudan due to civil conflicts in the South and Darfur in the west
* Uganda due to the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army
* West Bank and Gaza due to the Arab-Israeli conflicts starting in 1948.

Protection and Assistance

The problem of protecting and assisting IDPs is not a new issue. In international law it is the responsibility of the government concerned to provide assistance and protection for the IDPs in their country. However, as many of the displaced are a result of civil conflict and violence or where the authority of the central state is in doubt, there is no local authority willing to provide assistance and protection. [cite book |author=Goodwin-Gill, Guy S. |title=The refugee in international law |publisher=Clarendon Press |location=Oxford |year=1996 |pages= |isbn=0-19-826019-9 |oclc= |doi=p. 264] It has been estimated that some 5 million IDPs in 11 countries are "without any significant humanitarian assistance from their governments." [cite book | last = IDMC | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2006 | publisher = Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Norwegian Refugee Council | month = April | year = 2006 | location = Geneva | pages = | url = http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/9251510E3E5B6FC3C12572BF0029C267/$file/Global_Overview_2006.pdf p. 6]

Unlike the case of refugees, there is no international humanitarian institution which has the overall responsibility of protecting and assisting the refugees as well as the internally displaced.. A number of organizations have stepped into the breach in specific circumstances.

UNHCR

The UNHCR was mandated by General Assembly Resolution 428 (V) of 14 December 1950 to "lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protectionof refugees and the resolution of refugee problems....guided by the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol." cite web|url=http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/4565a5742.pdf |title=Mission Statement |accessdate=2007-10-24 |publisher=UNHCR |format=PDF] The UNHCR has traditionally argued that it does not have a "general competence for IDPs" even though at least since 1972 it had relief and rehabillatation programs for those displaced within a country. However, in cases where there is a specific request by the UN Secretary General and with the consent of the State concerned it has been willing to respond by assisting IDPs in a given instance. [cite book |author=Goodwin-Gill, Guy S. |title=The refugee in international law |publisher=Clarendon Press |location=Oxford |year=1996 |pages= |isbn=0-19-826019-9 |oclc= |doi=p. 266] In 2005 it was helping some 5.6 million IDPs (out of over 25 million), but only about 1.1 million in Africa. [Roberta Cohen in cite book |author=Marsella, Anthony J. |title=Fear of Persecution: Global Human Rights, International Law, and Human Well-Being |publisher=Lexington Books |location=Lexington, Mass |year= |pages= |url= http://www.google.com/books?id=YeSKaWWGGAAC&pg=PA13&vq=cohen&sig=0nKLpuljq26B7RAl6qZqbYEvZ8Q#PPA15,M1|isbn=0-7391-1566-9 |oclc= |doi=p. 15] [ cite journal|title=Strengthening Protection of IDPs: The UN's Role|journal=Georgetown Journal of International Affairs|date=Winter/Spring 2006|first=Roberta|last=Cohen|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/articles/2006/winter_humanrights_cohen/Cohen_2006_GJIA.pdf|format=|accessdate=2007-10-23 p. 106] In 2005, the UNHCR signed an agreement with other humanitarian agencies. "Under this agreement, UNHCR will assume the lead responsibility for protection, emergency shelter and camp management for internally displaced people." cite web|url=http://www.unhcr.org/basics/BASICS/405ef8c64.pdf |title=Internally Displaced People Q&A |accessdate=2007-10-24 |publisher=UNHCR |format=PDF]

ICRC

The ICRC has a mandate of ensuring the application of International Humanitarian Law as it affects civilians in the midst of armed conflict. They have traditionally not distinguished between civilians who are internally displaced and those who remain in their homes. In a 2006 policy statement, the ICRC stated:

The ICRC's overall objective is to alleviate the suffering of people who are caught up in armedconflict and other situations of violence. To that end, the organization strives to provideeffective and efficient assistance and protection for such persons, be they displaced or not,while taking into consideration the action of other humanitarian organizations.On the basis of its long experience in different parts of the world, the ICRC has defined anoperational approach towards the civilian population as a whole that is designed to meet themost urgent humanitarian needs of both displaced persons and local and host communities. [cite web |url=http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/idp-icrc-position-030706/$File/2006_IDPs_EN_ICRCExternalPosition.pdf |title= ICRC Position on Internally Displaced Persons|accessdate=2007-10-23 |format= |work=]
However, its Director of Operations has earlier recognized that IDPs "deprived of shelter and their habitual sources of food, water, medicine and money, they have different, and often more urgent, material needs." [cite news | first=Jean-Daniel | last=Tauxe | coauthors= | title=We Should Have Humanitarian Access to Displaced Civilians | date=2000-03-01 | publisher= | url =http://www.iht.com/articles/2000/03/01/edtauxe.t.php | work =International Herald Tribune | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-24 | language = ]

Collaborative Approach

The current system which is often referred to as the collaborative approach, shares the responsibility for protecting and assisting IDPs among the UN agencies, i.e. UNHCR, Unicef, WFP, UNDP, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the inter-governmental organization IOM, the ICRC and International NGOs. Coordination is the responsibility of the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Humanitarian Coordinator in the country concerned.cite book | last = IASC | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = Implementing the Collaborative Response to Situations of Internal Displacement | publisher = United Nations | month = September | year = 2004 | location = New York | pages = | url = http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004BE3B1/(httpInfoFiles)/9251510E3E5B6FC3C12572BF0029C267/$file/Global_Overview_2006.pdf | doi = | id = | isbn = |format=PDF] They are assisted by the Inter-Agency Displacement Division which was created in 2004 and is housed in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA). [ [http://www.reliefweb.int/idp/index.htm IDD] ]

The original collaborative approach has come under increasing criticism. Roberta Cohen reports:

Nearly every UN and independent evaluation has found the collaborative approach deficient when it comes to IDPs. To begin with, there is no real locus of responsibility in the field for assisting and protecting...There is also no predictability of action, as the different agencies are free to pick and choose the situations in which they wish to become involved on the basis of their respective mandates, resources, and interests. In every new emergency, no one knows for sure which agency or combination thereof will become involved. cite journal|title=Strengthening Protection of IDPs: The UN's Role|journal=Georgetown Journal of International Affairs|date=Winter/Spring 2006|first=Roberta|last=Cohen|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/articles/2006/winter_humanrights_cohen/Cohen_2006_GJIA.pdf|format=|accessdate=2007-10-24 p. 105]
In 2005 an attempt to fix the problem by giving sectoral responsibilities to different humanitarian agencies, most notably with the UNHCR taking on the responsibility for protection and the management of camps and emergency shelters. [cite journal|title=Strengthening Protection of IDPs: The UN's Role|journal=Georgetown Journal of International Affairs|date=Winter/Spring 2006|first=Roberta|last=Cohen|coauthors=|volume=|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/rc/articles/2006/winter_humanrights_cohen/Cohen_2006_GJIA.pdf|format=|accessdate=2007-10-24 p. 105]

The Cluster Approach

As some have pointed out, one of the most flagrant problems of the collaborative response was that “abnegation of responsibility is possible because there is no formal responsibility apportioned to agencies under the Collaborative Response, and thus no accountability when agencies renege on their promises.” [DAVIES, A. and MURRAY, M.W., “Implementation of the Collaborative Response in Liberia”, Forced Migration Review. IDP Supplement. October 2005, p. 17.] The cluster approach – the successor to the collaborative approach - tried to do away with this problem by designating individual agencies as ‘sector leaders’ to coordinate operations in specific areas to try to plug those newly identified gaps. The cluster approach was conceived amid concerns about coordination and capacity that arose from the weak operational response to the crisis in Darfur in 2004 and 2005, and the critical findings of the Humanitarian Response Review (HRR) commissioned by the then ERC, Jan Egeland. Egeland called for strengthening leadership of the sectors, and introduced the concept of "clusters” at different levels (headquarters, regional, country and operational)’.

The cluster approach operates on two levels: the global and local. At the global level, the approach is meant to build up capacity in eleven key ‘gap’ areas by developing better surge capacity, ensuring consistent access to appropriately trained technical expertise and enhanced material stockpiles, and securing the increased engagement of all relevant humanitarianpartners. At the field level, the cluster approach strengthens the coordination and response capacity by mobilizing clusters of humanitarian agencies (UN/Red Cross-Red Crescent/IOs/NGOs) to respond in particular sectors or areas of activity, each cluster having a clearly designated and accountable lead, as agreed by the HC and the Country Team. Designated lead agencies at the global level both participate directly in operations, but also coordinate with and oversee other organizations within their specific spheres, reporting the results up through a designated chain of command to the ERC at the summit. However, leadagencies are responsible as ‘providers of last resort’, which represents the commitment of cluster leads to do their utmost to ensure an adequate and appropriate response in their respective areas of responsibility. The cluster approach was part of a package of reforms accepted by the IASC in December 2005 and subsequently applied in eight chronic humanitarian crises and six sudden-onset emergencies. However, the reform was originally rolled out and evaluated in four countries: DRC, Liberia, Somalia and Uganda.

The clusters were originally concentrated on nine areas: 1) Logistics (WFP)2)emergency telecommunications (OCHA-Process owner, UNICEF Common Data Services, WFP – Common Security Telecommunications Services) 3)camp coordination and management (UNHCR for conflict-generated IDPs and IOM for natural disaster-generated IDPs)4) emergency shelter (IFRC)5)health (WHO)6) nutrition (UNICEF)7) water, sanitation, and hygiene (UNICEF)8) early recovery (UNDP); and 9) protection (UNHCR for conflict-generated IDPs, UNHCR, UNICEF, and OHCHR for natural disaster generated IDPs.

IASC Principles deemed it unnecessary to apply the cluster approach to four sectors where no significant gaps were detected: a) food, led by WFP; b) refugees, led by UNHCR; c) education, led by UNICEF; and d) agriculture, led by FAO.

The original nine clusters were later expanded to include agriculture and education.

International Law

Unlike the case of refugees, there is no international treaty which applies specfically to IDPs. Recognizing the gap, the UN Secretary-General, Boutros-Ghali appointed Francis Deng in 1992 as his representative for internally displaced persons. Besides acting as an advocate for IDPs, Deng set out in 1994, at the request of the UN General Assembly to examine and bring together existing international laws which relating to the protection of IDPs. [Roberta Cohen in cite book |author=Marsella, Anthony J. |title=Fear of Persecution: Global Human Rights, International Law, and Human Well-Being |publisher=Lexington Books |location=Lexington, Mass |year= |pages= |url= http://www.google.com/books?id=YeSKaWWGGAAC&pg=PA13&vq=cohen&sig=0nKLpuljq26B7RAl6qZqbYEvZ8Q#PPA15,M1|isbn=0-7391-1566-9 |oclc= |doi=p. 20] The result of this work was the document, "Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement". [Citation| first=Francis | last=Deng| coauthors=| contribution=The guiding principles on internal displacement| title=E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.l, February 11. New York, NY: United Nations| editor-first=| editor-last=| coeditors=| publisher=United Nations| place=New York| pages=| date=| year=| id= | contribution-url=http://www.reliefweb.int/ocha_ol/pub/idp_gp/idp.html| format=| accessdate=2007-10-23 ]

The Guiding Principles lay out the responsibilities of states before displacement – that is, to prevent displacement – during and after displacement. They have been endorsed by the UN General Assembly, the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) and by the signatories to the 2006 Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, which include Sudan, DRC and Uganda.

The Guiding Principles, however, are non-binding. As Bahame Tom Nyanduga, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, IDPs and Asylum Seekers in Africa for the ACHPR has stated, “the absence of a binding international legal regime on internal displacement is a grave lacuna in international law." cite journal|title=The challenge of internal displacement in Africa|journal=Forced Migration Review|month=September | year=2004|first=Bahame Tom|last=Nyanduga|coauthors=|volume=21|issue=|pages=|id= |url=http://www.fmreview.org/FMRpdfs/FMR21/FMR21full.pdf|format=|accessdate=2007-10-24 ]

In September 2004 the Secretary-General of the UN showed the continuing concern of his office by appointing Walter Kälin as his Representative on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons. Part of his mandate includes the promoting of the Guiding Principles. cite web|url=http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/idp/mandate.htm |title=Mandate |accessdate=2007-10-24 |publisher=UNHCHR ]

Notes

References

*The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Refugees by Numbers.
* Ilaria Bottigliero, "Displaced Persons Caught between War and Peace in Asia", 2 ISIL Yearbook of International Humanitarian and Refugee Law (2002), pp. 117-133.
* [http://books.google.ch/books?id=ZvnerYYLKjsC&pg=PA180&vq=idps&dq=special+representative+of+the+secretary+general+for+idps&psp=1&hl=en&sig=HgRxqiL42YfrE92T0YduZDN2_5wcite book |author=Brav, Laura; Bouchet-Saulnier, Françoise |title=The practical guide to humanitarian law |publisher=Rowman & Littlefield |location=Lanham, Md |year=2002 |pages= |isbn=0-7425-1062-X |oclc= |doi= pp.180-184]

External links

* [http://cicr.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/refugees_displaced_persons/ War and displacement] , ICRC
* [http://cicr.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/htmlall/section_ihl_refugees_and_IDPs/ Refugees and internally displaced persons and international humanitarian law] , ICRC
* [http://www.internal-displacement.org/ Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Norwegian Refugee Council]
* [http://www.reliefweb.int/ocha_ol/pub/idp_gp/idp.html The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement]
* [http://www.reliefweb.int/idp/ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Inter-Agency Internal DisplacementDivision]
* [http://www.idpaction.org/ IDP Action]
* [http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/idp/index.htm Website of the UN Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons]
* [http://www.brookings.edu/idp Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement]
* [http://www.forcedmigration.org/ Forced Migration Online] provides access to information resources, including a searchable digital library consisting of full-text documents
* [http://www.idpvoices.org IDP Voices] IDPs tell their life stories – in their own words
* [http://www.fmreview.org/ Forced Migration Review] magazine with regular IDP news
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3985159.stm World 'forgets' internal refugees] , "BBC News Online", 5 November 2005
* [http://www.ryanspencerreed.com/ Photojournalist's Account] - Images of displacement in Sudan
* [http://www.refugeelawproject.org Refugee Law Project] , Ugandan organisation working with IDPs
* [http://www.womenscommission.org Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children]
* [http://www.msmagazine.com/winter2007/newrights.asp "New Rights, Old Wrongs: Colombia has eased some abortion restrictions—but displaced women still suffer"] Winter 2007 article in [http://www.msmagazine.com "Ms." magazine] about how the conflict in Colombia is affecting the health and rights of IDP women
* [http://www.crazymalc.co.nz/06Nov/07Nov/07Nov.htm "Visiting the IDP camps in Northern Uganda"] : Malcolm Trevena's account of visiting the IDP camps in Kitgum, Northern Uganda


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