Internally Displaced People

Internally displaced people (IDPs) have not crossed an international border to find safety. Unlike refugees, IDPs stay within their own country. UNHCR exists to protect and assist everyone who has been affected by forced displacement.

In October 2017, some 40.3 million people were internally displaced due to armed conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations, according to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

UNHCR exists to protect and assist everyone who has been affected by forced displacement, including IDPs. We assume a coordination and operational delivery role in IDP situations to ensure protection is central to our work in order to prevent further displacement. We also provide life-saving assistance and work to identify solutions for displaced communities.

Coordination and working with partners

We work with other humanitarian agencies to make sure we reach everyone in need, but we are all guided by the same set of policies which are set out in the principle working document, UNHCR’s Strategic Directions 2017-2021.

To coordinate assistance to IDPs, we use a cluster approach. A cluster is when a group of agencies work together to set up and deliver an area of assistance, such as shelter, health care, camp management or protection.

UNHCR leads the Global Protection Cluster, co-leads the Global Shelter Cluster with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Global Camp Coordination Camp Management Cluster (CCCM) with International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

More information on UNHCR’s coordination of the clusters at global and field level can be found in our Emergency Handbook.