The Norwegian Refugee Council, Norway’s humanitarian NGO which provides assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide, announced today its findings that there were 26.4 million people displaced within their own countries at the end of 2011. 3.5 million of which had been newly forced to flee their homes during the year.
Of this figure, 830,000 were those who had become newly displaced as a result of the Arab Spring.
The displacement of thousands of Yemenis, Libyans and Syrians has thus resulted in a tripling of the number of Internally Displaced Persons in the region over the last decade. While in Iraq, over 2,000,000 people continue to be trapped in prolonged periods of displacement. The ramifications of the Arab Spring on existing internally displaced Iraqis and refugees, who have sought shelter in exceptional numbers in Syria over the past years, cannot be understated.
While many displaced persons have been able to return to their homes during the last year: 170,000 to Iraq, 400,000 in Libya; others remain in hope. In Libya, landmines have contributed towards making the journey home trecherous for many families. While ongoing fighting in Syria coupled with a tightening on the freedom of movement – both of Syrians and humanitarian aid organisations, continues to prevent many from returning home.
We’re deeply concerned about the impact of displacement on the thousands of women and girls who are at risk of trafficking across the MENA region. In particular, we appeal for your help if you have any information that can assist us in supporting women and girls at the Syrian-Turkish border. If you have any evidence of trafficking, anecdotal or otherwise, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and help us shed a light on the trafficking of women and girls in the region.
The full report, Internal Displacement Global Overview 2011, compiled by the NRC’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, can be downloaded here