Teaching Tools, 24 October 2006
Refugees and other civilians who are affected by fighting have moved from the periphery to the centre stage of wars. Forced human displacement has become a dominant factor that complicates the outcome of conflicts and the stability of peace. Forcing people to abandon their homes has become one of the objectives of war with a view to re-engineering the ethnic or political composition of entire areas, and thus serve long-term political objectives even after conflicts have ended. Internal displacement, as opposed to movements of refugees across borders, is a growing phenomenon, and the complexity of contemporary conflicts is reflected in the increasingly complicated patterns of forced population movements
In this module of lessons, students will realise that not all people who are forced by conflict to leave their homes are considered refugees. They will learn that there are international legal differences between a refugee and an internally displaced person. But they will see that the ever-increasing numbers of individuals who fall into either category have similar needs for protection and assistance, from UN and non-government aid agencies, from the international community, as well as from their own governments.