The Urbanisation of Displaced People (CIVIS Note)

The latest CIVIS Note published by the Cities Alliance Secretariat, The Urbanisation of Displaced People examines the phenomenon of refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in urban areas in developing countries.
It provides an overview of the main findings of a 2010 scoping study conducted by Cities Alliance and UNHCR on responding to forced displacement to urban areas. Key findings of the study include:
  • Establishment of residence in urban areas by significant numbers of displaced people from a different ethnic or sectarian group is potentially destabilising if not mitigated properly.
  • Many of the poorly built urban environments in which most urban refugees/IDPs live are in areas that are increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards, such as flood plains, coastal areas and on hillsides. However, disaster risk reduction strategies rarely consider displaced populations.
  • The international legal protection available to urban IDPs is often significantly less than that for recognised refugees, although in theory IDPs are protected by their national laws.
The CIVIS Note was prepared by Jeff Crisp of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Hilde Refstie, formerly of the Cities Alliance.
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