They outnumber refugees but don’t often make the headlines

Refugees make headlines. Internally displaced people don’t.

Maybe their plight eludes the limelight because, unlike refugees, they don’t cross international borders … or seek to enter the United States or Western Europe, where people debate how many of them to let in … or undertake harrowing voyages across the Mediterranean.

And maybe it’s because of their official label. “Internally displaced persons” (also known as IDPs) sounds vague and a bit confusing, as if they were lost inside themselves.

The Norwegian Refugee Council recently issued a report tallying 6.9 million people internally displaced by conflict and violence in 2016. The total number of IDPs displaced by violence or conflict is 40.3 million, double the number from the year 2000.

By contrast, there were 16.5 million refugees as of mid-2016 according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

[Read full NPR interview]

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