The city as a place of refuge for IDPs
Agnès de Geoffroy
When the Cold War ended, it gave way to a fragmented world of complex crises where civilians are increasingly at risk. As a result, the number of registered IDPs has grown enormously since the end of the 1980s.
Forced displacement, caused by crises and conflicts, is a sad and bitter echo of other kinds of movement which are judged to be “virtuous” in the age of globalisation and international exchange. The international community’s attitude to those fleeing violence has been a mixture of rejection (closing of borders and containment strategies) and intervention (mechanisms implemented to respond to forced displacement and the idea of shared responsibility between the international community and the state where the displacement is taking place). The term “Internally Displaced Persons” (IDPs) began to be used at the end of the 1990s to refer to this new category of people. They became the object of a specific type of humanitarian response and of new policies in the countries where they were present.
The following comparison of the situation in Bogota (Colombia) and Khartoum (Sudan) analyses the nature of the IDP category, which originated in the humanitarian sector, and measures the ideological and political influences involved in these two different national contexts. It then goes on to study the specific issues that are raised by IDP populations in urban contexts, the range of actors working with them and the different strategies that they adopt.