About IDMC

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is the leading source of information and analysis on internal displacement worldwide. Since 1998 its role has been recognised and endorsed by United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

For the millions of people displaced within their own country, IDM­C plays a unique role as a global monitor and analyst to inform and influence policy and action by governments, UN agencies, donors and INGOs.

IDMC is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an independent, non-governmental humanitarian organisation.

Areas of work

Monitor and analyse internal displacement caused by conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations and natural hazard-induced disasters, in particular:

  • scope and trends of new, evolving and protracted situations of displacement worldwide
  • obstacles to durable solutions to displacement
  • drivers of future displacement risk
  • policy, legal and institutional frameworks for protecting people affected by displacement or at risk of being displaced

Provide national authorities, donor governments and decision-makers across the humanitarian and development fields with independent information and analysis.
Use evidence, expertise and partnerships to advocate for the protection of people displaced or at risk of displacement.


In order to produce independent evidence-based analysis, IDMC works with a range of partners from the local to the global level. This includes governments and authorities, United Nations and inter-governmental organisations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, civil society organisations and academic institutions.

What is internal displacement?

Internal displacement is a situation in which “persons or groups of persons […]have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognised state border” (Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, United Nations, 1998, E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2).

What is the difference between an internally displaced person and a refugee?

The main difference between IDPs and refugees is that internally displaced people remain within the borders of their own country. Refugees have crossed an international border in search of refuge, and this gives them legal refugee status which entitles them to certain rights and international protection. However an IDP is not a legal status because IDPs are still under the jurisdiction of their own government and may not claim any rights additional to those shared by their fellow citizens.

However, IDPs are often in need of special protection, not least because the government responsible for protecting them is sometimes unwilling or unable to do so, or may itself be the cause of displacement.

Despite the differences in legal status and of entitlement to aid from the international humanitarian community, the causes of displacement and the experience of being displaced are often similar for both IDPs and refugees. Much like refugees, IDPs often feel like strangers in their place of refuge.

The role of IDMC

  • Provides timely, accurate, accessible information on internal displacement worldwide
  • Provides impartial analysis on internal displacement situations as they unfold
  • Develops research and analysis to help shape policies and practices that have positive outcomes for IDPs
  • Provides expertise to policy makers and practitioners linked to legal frameworks and the protection of IDPs