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The Internally Displaced Persons Criminology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 5425 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Chapter 2

Internal Displacement has long been a concern of the international community due to its significant implication in international humanitarian engagement especially that it has far reaching and multifaceted consequences to the displaced. It indiscriminately affects human condition and interaction whether it is political, economic or social. It has been observed that displaced persons, especially the more vulnerable groups, are placed in helpless positions and often experienced human rights violations, discrimination and loss of social and economic rights (Turner, 2000; Kellenberger, 2009). In addition, the reality of insufficient or lack of IDP data as proven in the Southern Mindanao can be a hindrance to the humanitarian efforts to address the plight of the IDPs . This is attributed to poor access to comprehensive and updated data on internal displacement. In fact, the need to quantify data is proven to be a major and methodological challenge to all humanitarian actors (Norwegian Refugee Council, 2002). As such, there is a need of IDP profiling to determine the degree and accurate numeral account of displacement. In turn, patterns could emerge from these data that can be used to forecast or influence future decision of migration and provide sufficient response to the situation of the IDPs.

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Data Profiling

The first step in responding to the plight of the IDPs is identifying them. The process of collecting data of IDPs is called IDP profiling which is defined in the Guidance on Profiling internally Pisplaced Person (2008) as “the collaborative process of identifying internally displaced groups or individuals through data collection, including counting, and analysis, in order to take action to advocate on their behalf, to protect and assist them and, eventually, to help bring about a solution to their displacement”

Prior to the released of the said guidelines by the Norwegian Refugee Council, each displacement monitoring agencies have their own criteria on what are necessary and what should be included in their reports. This leads to some inconsistency and lack of data (Acketoft, 2008; Ferris, Cernea, & Petz, 2011) which posed problems in synchronizing data during analysis and further comprehension on the nature and vulnerabilities of IDPs as shown in recommendations of various studies regarding IDPs.

The said IDP guidance released by the Norwegian Refugee extensively promotes proper collection of information as it cites a list of what are the necessary variables needed to consider and this includes the number of displaced persons, disaggregated by age and sex and location/s, the place where displacement happens. Whenever possible, additional information could be included, but not be limited to: cause(s) of displacement, patterns of displacement, protection concerns, humanitarian needs, and potential solutions for the group/individual, if available.

IDP profiling is one of the bases of the government agencies on how to do their duty as the primary responsible in securing the lives and welfare of the people. It is because reliable data is necessary for country strategies and operations, fund raising and advocacy. Better data is therefore a means to improve the humanitarian response After all, core data is essential for good planning of humanitarian assistance and protection.

Since IDP profiling is merely identification of existing IDPs and their circumstances, the consolidation of IDP data is essential to be able to maximized available data and the next step after IDP profiling. In consolidating IDP data, the analysis during this stage will show the true scenario of the plight of the IDPs and from it derived a clear comprehension of their vulnerabilities and needs.

Internally Displaced Persons

To be able to properly do IDP profiling, it is essential to first comprehend what is an Internally Displaced Persons or IDPs.

“Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights and natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border” (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, 1998).

The description provided by the GPID (1998) highlights two elements: the range of movement and the nature of movement. The former means that the IDPs move within the country and remain in the jurisdiction of the national government. Meanwhile, the latter describe the situation of IDP and the causes of displacement. IDP move away from their normal place of residence because of several factors beyond their control such as armed conflict, generalized violence, human rights violations and disasters. All the factors have something in common; they are threat to the survival of the people in their previous place of abode and many, with no choice, thus compelled to move sometimes to the unknown.

Walter Kälin (2008), one of the framers of GPID, in his book entitled Annotations of the Guiding Principles he noted that the above description is not a legal definition since being an IDP does not bestow a legal status since there is no need for it. This is because the rights and guarantees of the IDPs are already inherent in their character as a human being and as habitual citizens of their countries. More than that, the government is primary responsible to their well being since its duty is to safeguard the rights of its citizens.

Types of IDPs

IDPs can be systematically categorized into two distinct types based on the cause of displacement: conflict induced and environment induced IDPs.

Conflict Induced IDPs

Conflict induced IDPs are describe as people who were forced to flee due to threat of or active armed hostilities, generalized human rights violation in their area of residence. These people are in danger due to the armed hostilities that may be international (between at least two states or between government and national liberation) or non-international (between armed groups or between government and armed insurgents) in scope. If not, the danger may lie behind internal tensions and disturbances that fell short of armed conflict but still involve violence perpetuated by armed insurgent groups and/or government agents to instill or maintain peace in their area of habitat. In conjunction, the government and/or armed insurgent groups may transgress the rights of these people guaranteed by the national and international human rights law and may or may not endanger their life or freedom through persecution. These factors inflict fear upon these residents and thus forced them to move to other place to seek refuge (Kälin, 2008).

Environmentally Induced IDPs

The UNHCR has define the environmentally displaced persons as those “who are displaced from or who feel obliged to leave their usual place of residence, because their lives, livelihoods and welfare have been placed at serious risk as a result of adverse environmental, ecological or climatic processes and events” (Gorlick 2007) as quoted in Forced Migration Policy Briefing 1 (Boano, Zetter, & Morris, 2008).

It should be noted that the aforementioned definition of environmentally induced displacement has made no reference regarding cross-border movement so the movement of displacement can be within the country or have cross international borders. This study will refer the environmentally induced IDPs as people who flee within the borders of their country due to negative environmental activities and disasters that may be natural or human made such as landslides, flash floods, typhoons, and fire, which perilously endanger their life and their material and economic possessions.

Vulnerabilities of IDPs

IDP primary concern during displacement is a place to stay due to the fact that they lose/ left their house and other material possessions. They have left their residence to search for a place where in their physical security and integrity can be protected. In addition, they are often deprived of means to restore self-reliance and, subsequently, develop tendency to depend on humanitarian assistance since they lack access to livelihood and work opportunities . Most of them are sheltered in evacuation centers wherein most of the times are crowded. They became prone to illness such as diarrhea, pneumonia and other communicable diseases due to unsanitary condition and congested situation which sometimes lead to death (Philippines: Death and Disease IDP camps, 2009).

Another concern is the loss of documents essential for receiving benefits or recognition before the law carried away by typhoon, storm and the like or left behind at home where they’ll be at risk if they return to recover it. Without these essential documents, IDPs may be denied of basic services

Out of these misfortunes, IDPs experienced a disruption or, in some cases, destruction of their social organization since the family members was separated or disrupted. In addition, there is sometimes reorganization in the family, wife or the eldest child becoming head of the household with the death or disability of the husband or the parents, which aggravates the condition of the IDPs.

Vulnerable Sectors

Among the IDP population, there are several sectors namely children, women, elder and persons with disabilities, who requires special attention due to their special circumstances (Birkeland, 2009).

Internally Displaced Children

The Guiding Principles of Internal Displacement and in tandem with the Convention of the Right of Children guaranteed the rights of children from prohibition of their enslavement, use in forced labor and participation or recruitment in armed hostilities. The Principles has also laid down the children’s rights to family life which means they have the right to be reunited with their family and to education. However in reality, children are at high at risk to be conscripted in armed hostilities, most commonly by insurgent or terrorist groups. They are highly susceptible to be exploited as porter or domestic servants or slaves. Even in environmental induced displacement, they, especially unaccompanied minors, can still be exploited to sexual violations and likely to be neglected and trafficked

The 2010 IDMC report on Internal Displacement also said that recruitment remained a grave and particular risk for many internally displaced children. It was seen that recruitment is a form of livelihood for some IDPs facing poverty. IDP camps and informal settlements continued to be prime recruiting grounds, as children there were relatively densely gathered, often without access to education (particularly those of secondary-level age) and unable to engage in other livelihood activities.

Children are often exposed to high risk of physical violence and attack when travelling to and from school. Displaced children were also unable to access education because of fees, damaged infrastructure, and other displacement-related factors in 27 countries in 2010 . Moreover, children also lost their identification documents essential to receiving benefits or recognition before the law. Governments and institutions may deny them the services such as enrolment to school, medical services and claim to their properties since they cannot produce legal documents.

Internally Displaced Women

Women are entitled to protection against violence and exploitation, equal access to humanitarian assistance, services and education, and participation in decisions affecting them as explicitly stated in the Principles (Kälin, 2008). They are very vulnerable and needed to be protected from gender-based violence and sexual exploitation. In some cases, the wife has to replace their husband as breadwinner of the family especially during conflict wherein her husband may or may not die or left disabled. Besides, pregnant women do need special care due to their condition and the trauma of displacement only aggravates their condition. In the displacement, they are highly susceptible in risk delivering of a child because according to the UN Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Philippines country director, Suneeta Mukherjee, “They are very vulnerable because they can’t stop from delivering when their time comes. The number one problem is that the whole thing could be septic, the mother and the baby could get infected and die.”

Vulnerability of women, such as single mothers and girls, are increasing due to domestic violence among other threats, and the lack of assistance reaching people with special needs. The high rates of trauma and anxiety, particularly among women and children, are more likely caused by the exposure to violence and grief over the death of loved ones .

The status of internally displaced women has still remained difficult even though the efforts by international agencies are extensive. In all countries, displaced women who have become heads of households have had to support their children and older members of their family without a steady income, relying on piecemeal support. In merely providing adequate food, not to mention housing, health care and other services, burdens the displaced women in dealing with it .

Elderly Displaced Persons 

The elderly can have great difficulty in accessing humanitarian assistance. Moreover, they are most likely unable to flee quickly during conflict or disaster and unable to properly protect themselves from harm during times of conflict. Even among them, elderly women are more vulnerable. In some countries where the elders are eligible to receive state pensions, elders are unable to claim their entitlements due to lack of documentation. Additionally, they can easily succumb to illness while fleeing or in evacuation camps

According to David Hutton (2008), “Older people have often been overlooked in disasters and conflicts, and their concerns have rarely been addressed by emergency programs or planners. Until recently, older people’s needs in disasters and conflicts were addressed only by broader adult health and humanitarian programs. This has changed as several recent emergencies highlighted this population’s vulnerabilities.”

Internally Displaced Disable Persons

Disabled Persons are often easily separated from their families and find themselves left on their own. They are very prone to exhaustion and malnutrition due the difficulty of travel to safety and even in evacuation camps. Besides, they are predisposed to be discriminated or be subject to degrading treatment due to their disability. Moreover, the Relief Web report compiled on February 29, 2012 stated that, “The problem is that those who are physically weak can hardly go to evacuation centers and access humanitarian aid. It’s paradoxical, but it is often those who need it the most who struggle to receive assistance.”(Briefing Kit for Philippines (the): Bringing Humanitarian Relief to, 2012)

Humanitarian Assistance

Historically, displacement has always been one of foremost causes of humanitarian engagement since the start of international humanitarian system. The displacement may endure for days, months and even decades. As such, the USAID recognizes in its “Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy” that IDPs have needs that can be systematically divided into four phases: emergency phase, care and maintenance phase, reintegration and transition phase, and long term development phase.

Emergency Phase

Emergency phase is the period of displacement of the IDPs. In this phase, IDPs usually require basic necessities since they are most likely unable to bring emergency supplies due to the upheaval. In their condition, IDPs need immediate help or assistance that typically consists of shelter, food, water, clothing, medical assistance, sanitation systems, and protection (USAID, 2004).

Care and Maintenance Phase

Care and maintenance phase is the period where IDPs are somewhat settled in evacuation camps or temporary settlement. In this phase, IDPs tend to need access to education, trauma counseling, family tracing, protection from exploitation. Usually at this stage, IDPs are particularly vulnerable to exploitations and in need of protection since illegal recruiters can easily persuade the members of the families to work in abusive jobs since they are in desperate need of source of livelihood. During this phase as well, humanitarian agencies must prepare the IDPs to eventual return to their home through training and support for self reliance

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Reintegration and Transition

The transitional reintegration phase is the period wherein the IDPs are either returning back to their residence prior to displacement or resettlement to a new area of residence. In this phase, IDPs often need transportation back to their home, protection from involuntary return, help to reclaim their land and rebuild houses and businesses, assistance for demining, support to establish accountable local governance and stronger civil society, and programs to reconcile lingering ethnic or political tensions and safeguard the rights of female-headed households. During this phase of transition and reintegration, IDPs often go back to their homes and find their properties destroyed or occupied by others. The damaged infrastructure devastated local economies, weak civil administrations, simmering social and political tensions, and lingering security risks that left behind by the conflict or disaster adds to their vulnerability. Furthermore, conflicts may erupt again exposing the returning IDPs in yet again vulnerable situation. Some IDPs never return home and must resettle permanently in new communities when their home prior to displacement is no longer feasible for habitat

Long Term Development Phase

In the long-term development phase, IDPs who have returned home or resettled permanently into new communities need assistance to construct or repair water systems, health systems, schools, and transportation routes. Resettled IDPs also need access to vocational training and business or agricultural loans and inputs. Population displacement can negatively affect stability and the longer-term development prospects of a nation. Prolonged displacement typically disrupts or reverses progress made in schooling, healthcare, food production, sanitation systems, infrastructure improvements, local governance, and other sectors fundamental to economic and social development. Failure to address the long-term development needs of previously uprooted population risks new cycles of national instability and population displacement

Global trend

In the current state of this research the proponents have an access only on disaggregated data of conflict-induced and environment- induced IDPs. Additionally, in effect of late recognition unlike conflict induced displacement which has numerous of monitoring agencies, environmental induced internal displacement has no long history of annual systematically collected and analyzed data base .

When adding up the figures of conflict-induced IDPs and environmentally induced- IDPs featured in the website and annual reports of Internal Displacement Monitoring Agency (IDMC), the result is as shown below, although fluctuated in 2009, the number of IDPs remain considerably high.

Figure 1. Global Trend of IDPs in millions (2007-2011)

Philippines trend of IDP

One of the biggest contributors on the abovementioned global estimation of internally displaced persons is the Philippines. In the last decades there are already millions of people who have been internally displaced by armed conflict and human rights, specifically during military operations against Muslim and Communist insurgencies as stated by IDMC. In addition, the numbers of IDPs is fluctuating but never goes lower than 20,000 since 2000. As of 2009, there are at least a total of 750,000 people or maybe more, were displaced in the fight between Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and MILF (DSWD, 15 May 2009). Even during the ceasefire between AFP and MILF in July 2009, there were still hundreds of thousands of people living collectively in centers and camps known by the government as “evacuation centers”, relocation sites and with host communities .

Aside from internal conflicts, the country is also geographically situated at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean and sits on the “ring of fire” which is prone to geologic and natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions seasonal typhoons, storms and flash floods (World Atlas). Since it frequently encounters natural disasters, this consequently caused displacement, at times in large scale with hundreds of thousands displaced in a single event. For instance in 2009, the Typhoon Ondoy displaced a total of 500 000 people while the typhoon Pepeng was another 500 000 . Moreover, the Center for Research and Epidemiology Disasters (CRED) disclosed that the Philippines rank first in 2010 as the most hazard prone country in the world (See, 2010).

Region XI: Traces of IDP

The Region XI: Davao Region as well accounted several traces of displacement. The New People’s Army (NPA), communist military group, established fifteen NPA fronts in this region, totaling roughly 800 fighters. Based on several news articles they employed ambush, kidnapping, arson, extortion and liquidation of anti- NPA civilians as methods to pursue their vision. As such, the government conducts series of military operations to weaken the presence, to stop the above stated activities and capture the rebels. As a result mass displacement occurred in fear of being caught in crossfire or being misidentified either NPA or military supporters. For instance, in April of 2007 hundreds of families evacuated as a result of pursuit operations done by military in Brgy. Manay, Panabo City after NPA raided the Davao Penal Farm (Bwaga, 2007). Also, as cited in country displacement profile NDCC estimated that there are 2,060 people displaced at the end of April 2009 in Talaingod, Davao del Norte (IDMC, 2009)

Besides the aforementioned military operations in the region, the Davao region is vulnerable too to environmental disasters. The Geo Hazard maps of MGBXI showed landslide and flood prone areas and almost all provinces are at risk to landslides and susceptible to flashfloods. The graphs below show the numbers of sitios/ barangays and numbers of families per province that is vulnerable to mass displacement due to flashflood and landslides in 2009. For instance, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in region XI (MGBXI) declared Sitio Panganason as no habitation zone due to recurring landslide since 2007. Another is that the flashflood in Matina-Pangi, Davao City forced 3000 families to flee their homes and sought refuge in evacuation centers (Tesiorna, 2011).

Figure 2. Sitios/Barangays susceptible to Mass Figure 3. Families susceptible to

Movement due to Flashflood & Landslides displacement due to Flashfloods and

Source: MGB XI Landslides

Issues of the IDP Data

Despite the pursuit of various organizations, both international and local, in the collection of data of the IDPs, there are still various anecdotes that imply the difficulty of generating accurate data on IDPs. In fact, there is a poor access to a comprehensive and updated data regarding IDPs and even if there is such access, public distributed information is often difficult to validate with regards to origin and reliability (Norwegian Refugee Council, 2002). The same sentiment was implied by IDMC in their course of gathering statistics of IDPs. Since population movements in Mindanao are observed to be frequent and official registration has been incomplete, according to IDMC, these made reliable figures on the number of IDPs hard to come by.

Besides difficulty in gathering data, Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), as cited (IDMC, 2011), has also noted that there are existing discrepancies in the IDP reports between the governments and international organizations. In particular, the Philippine government usually issues the lowest figures which can be misleading. In addition, despite the number of IDPs tallied, the phenomenon of internal displacement is still largely disregarded in the region. An anecdote about one RDMMRC director, who stated that there is no IDP in Davao in the aftermath of the Matina-Pangi flashflood, comes into mind. Moreover, the IDP phenomenon in the Davao region is overshadowed by the internal displacement in other regions. Hence, there is a need to acknowledge existing internal displacement in the region so that the concern of the IDPs can be properly responded. There are only various incident reports that can be easily accessible but there is no consolidated data and established trend available to the public. Indeed, the need to quantify IDPs is a major practical and methodological challenge that needed to be prioritized by humanitarian actors.

Monitoring Agencies

International organizations such as IOM, IDMC, ICRC, USAID, and governmental agencies like NDRRMC, and DSWD take data profiling seriously to improve their humanitarian activities and lessen the human suffering around the world.


International Organization for Migration is an international organization committed to uphold a humane and orderly migration that benefits all. It is a leading international agency working with governments and civil society to advancement of the understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration, and endorsement of the human dignity and well-being of migrants as reflected in its credo. IOM works to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people (IOM, 2012).

Currently, climate change is an emerging threat to human security. As a response, IOM has three main objectives in facing this threat. First is to prevent forced migration resulting from environmental factors, as much as possible through reducing vulnerability and promoting adaptation to environmental and climate changes such as disaster risk managements. Second is to provide assistance and protection to affected populations, and seek durable solutions. Lastly is to facilitate migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change. To fulfill these objectives, IOM conducts several activities such as offering a forum for policy dialogue among states and NGOs, undertaking extensive research, conducting operational activities like humanitarian response and developing comprehensive strategies to better manage environmental migration and to address potential impacts of migration on the environment with the cooperation of partners like government and both international and local NGOs (IOM, 2012).

Above and beyond, designation of an institutional focal point for internally displaced persons by the government is important. By designating an institutional focal point for internally displaced persons, the government demonstrates a clearest recognition of national responsibility for responding to internal displacement. It facilitates coordination on the issue and cooperation both within government and with local and international partners to ensure that the needs of internally displaced persons are not overlooked. This is the rationale on the reason why governments, such as the United States government and Philippine government, create institutional focal point for internally displaced persons or adds that responsibility to agencies in charge of social developments in their country.


The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is a leading international body monitoring internal displacement worldwide established in 1998 by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) at the request of the United Nations. It runs an online database that provides comprehensive information and analysis on internal displacement in countries around the world. It contributes to improving national and international capacities to protect and assist the millions of people around the globe who have been displaced within their own country as a result of conflicts or human rights violations as well as by natural disaster.

In 2009, IDMC has started publishing annual global estimates of the worldwide scale of internal displacement caused by sudden-onset disasters. They are developing knowledge of the nature and patterns of displacement over time caused by different types of disasters. They are highlighting the specific rights and needs of displaced populations and the vulnerabilities of women, children and men who are particularly at risk. Other than that, they are raising awareness, building capacity and contributing to the development of policies and guidance for national and international actors in order to advocate for the protection of disaster-displaced populations (IDMC, 2011).

Through the IDP database, reports and other publications, the IDMC promotes awareness and concern to the IDPs, points to gaps in the response of governments and the international community, and promotes durable solutions in line with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), established in 1863, works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. It is an independent and neutral organization wherein its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The ICRC works primarily in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence. In situations of armed conflict, IDPs are first and foremost civilians, and thus at the core of the ICRC’s mandate. It is the ICRC that constantly reminds the parties to conflict of their obligations to protect the civilian population, as set out in the core rules of international humanitarian law. Also, they play significant roles during natural and human-made disasters by providing aid to the victims of natural disasters, both through the local work of the member Societies themselves and through the Federation’s international support for that work. In fact, they were entitled as the world’s largest provider of humanitarian aid. They act before, during and after disasters and health emergencies to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people. (ICRC, 2010).


The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is an agency of the United States government that has special interest in the protection of the IDPs. As one of the principal international donors in the field of internal displacement and humanitarian protection, USAID is driven by humanitarian and development concerns as well as political and security considerations. This is reflected in October 2004 when USAID adopted its Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy, becoming the first donor organization to ever issue a policy statement regarding internally displaced persons. The specific purpose of the Policy and Implementation Guidelines is to ensure that a broad, integrated approach is used to reduce the human costs of population displacement and that long-term development is not reversed. This is done by providing assistance programs ranging from early emergency phase to long-term development phase. It is also responsible for ensuring a coherent response from the US government and the international community. In addition, it acknowledges particular characteristics of IDPs such as their lack of specia


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