Almost five years after the UN stopped counting internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rwanda, there are still 180,000 relocated families living under plastic sheeting, in damaged shelters or temporarily occupying other people's homes.
In 1998 and 1999 the Rwandan government and the UN recognised around 650,000 people in makeshift camps as internally displaced (IDPs) in the north-western prefectures of Ruhengeri and Gisenyi. These IDPs have been uprooted when an insurgency in the two provinces was put down by the Tutsi-dominated government in 1997-1998. In December 2000, the UN ceased to consider them as such, arguing that “governmental and international efforts to stabilise the situation through durable solutions have advanced beyond the threshold of what still could be called internal displacement”.
More than four years after the issue of internal displacement was taken off the agenda in Rwanda, conditions in the villages inhabited by the resettled IDPs call for renewed attention to the question of whether internal displacement has ended with the implementation of durable solutions, as required by the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.