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PSJ Reacts to the Wilton Park Report on Internally Displaced People

The recent Wilton Park report into Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) takes a close look at the issue of internal displacement which is a growing global problem, occurring largely due to conflicts in several parts of the world, including Nigeria. As a result of violence and conflict such as the Boko Haram insurgency, over 613,000 people have been displaced, over 541,000 are newly displaced and there are currently a total of over 2 million people affected in the region. This means that more than 5% of the population of internally displaced people in the world are from Nigeria. The report highlights both the causes of internal displacements as well as the after effects that result, including urban migration and falling living conditions in major cities such as Lagos and London. As people from troubled regions migrate into already crowded and often deprived urban areas these areas have seen increased pressure on social amenities as well as an increase in crime rates. The report seeks to address these issues by highlighting ways in which internally displaced people can be afforded better rights and protections through policy and intervention strategies. It is crucial, the authors of the report assert, that internally displaced people are able to access a sense of belonging and social cohesion, and that their human rights and access to quality of life are upheld. However, the authors also draw attention to the fact that while the government claims that around 100 billion has been pledged towards the cause of internally displaced people, there are wide discrepancies between stated budgets and the amount of money that is actually spent on directly supporting people suffering the effects of displacement. Studies show that only 5% of such budgets go towards the people themselves while the rest is generally spent on logistics. Of the 100 billion then, only 5 billion goes to the cause it is pledged to support. Upon reading the report closely, PSJ notes that the report highlights what could be termed the ‘double jeopardy’ of social injustice as it relates to issues of internal displacement. For as well as dealing with the trauma of the original displacement the people affected often find themselves further displaced by the very strategies that should aim to restore quality of life as people struggle to adapt and build a new home and family life in new areas that are beset by their own problems. PSJ welcomes the report and hopes that the government will respond appropriately to its conclusions and recommendations.

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