The Displacement-Peace Nexus

Khalid Koser
Khalid Koser Executive Director - Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund

April 30, 2008


Resolving internal displacement is inextricably linked with achieving lasting peace. In some countries, the sheer scale of displacement is so significant that it is unrealistic to plan for a peaceful future without incorporating IDPs’ needs and ensuring their active participation. Unfortunately, however, IDPs are often ignored in peace processes.

Helping displaced populations to return and reintegrate can both address the root causes of a conflict and help prevent further displacement. The return of displaced populations can be an important signifier of peace and help validate the post-conflict order. IDPs can be active in local politics and can also make an important contribution to the recovery of local economies. In some countries the displaced have become parties to the conflict, and their inclusion is therefore necessary for conflict resolution.

All this is also true of refugees but IDPs often have additional needs that require specific attention during peace processes. IDPs often remain close to the zone of conflict and more vulnerable to violence. Provision of humanitarian assistance to IDPs is often more difficult. Unlike refugees, they are not singled out for specific protection in international law. Furthermore, IDPs need shelter, may be unable to replace official documents and often encounter problems recovering land and property.

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