The UN and Displaced People: Refugees without borders

We are now facing a new era in refugee protection and, importantly, the protection of those who are not in a conventional sense refugees. In many of the thirty plus intra-State conflicts today civilians are deliberately targeted. Refugees without borders - displaced people within their own countries - internally displaced people - or IDP’s as they are known in the jargon - are increasing and are a major new dimension of this problem.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Dennis McNamara

Senior UN official, responsible for mobilising humanitarian response internally displaced people

Refugee protection has been an activity of the United Nations (UN) - and specifically of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - for fifty years. We have had many successes, and also some painful failures. Among others I will never forget the Vietnamese boat people who drowned in Southeast Asia, or the Rwandan refugees who died in the Congo.

Despite the failures, over recent decades tens of millions of refugees have been given asylum and basic protection. Over 135 states are now party to the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol, giving something approaching universal protection.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.