In many countries, internally displaced persons (IDPs) do not live in camps established by humanitarian organizations, but rather in cities where they are dispersed among the urban population. Urban displacement poses particular challenges both for those seeking to assist and protect IDPs and for researchers trying to understand displacement. It is often difficult to identify urban IDPs who may feel safer living anonymously among the urban population and who are often not registered with the government or international agencies. Being labeled as an IDP can lead to discrimination and further persecution. For researchers, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between urban IDPs and urban migrants. While quite a bit is known about the situation of IDPs living in camp settings, much less is known about urban IDPs.
On March 10, from 9:00 am-11:00 pm, the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement hosted a round-table seminar on these issues. The discussion focused on the conceptual and policy issues as well as the concrete situations of urban IDPs on the ground.