What's wrong with the UN definition of an Internally Displaced Person?

According to the latest United Nations figures there are exactly 25.619 Internally Displaced Persons in Bukavu, DRC. Baffled by this improbably precise number, this post critisizes the methodology used by the UN.

In this blog post, recent PhD graduate Gloria Nguya and Professor Dirk-Jan Koch on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in urban settings in eastern DRC, particularly Bukavu and Goma.

They investigate the confusion about who should be counted as an IDP - they found people who considered themselves IDPs, even though they were just regular migrants according to official definitions. Others who thought they weren’t IDPs were actually IDPs according to these official definitions.

They single out one key crucial question to which there are so many contradicting responses: ‘When is somebody no longer an IDP?’.

About the authors

Gloria Nguya has just completed her PhD in livelihoods strategies of Internally Displaced Persons in Urban Eastern DRC at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Dirk-Jan Koch is professor by special appointment for International Trade and Development Cooperation at the Radboud Univeristy in Nijmegen and Chief Science Officer at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More information

Read the full post - The credibility problem of United Nations official statistics on Internally Displaced Persons

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