Every year, millions of people are forced to flee their home by relentless bombardments, the threat of armed attacks, or harassment by criminal gangs. In this section, we dig deeper into the drivers, triggers, patterns and impacts of internal displacement associated with conflict and violence.
A record 48 million people were living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence as of 31 December 2020. Conflict and violence also accounted for 9.8 million new displacements in 2020, with the majority of these new displacements taking place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and Ethiopia.
Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa consistently record the highest numbers of new displacements. They are also home to the largest number of internally displaced people, with Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo jointly accounting for nearly a quarter of the total number of internally displaced people. Beyond the numbers, our research seeks to paint a fuller picture of the severity of internal displacement linked to conflict and violence. Understanding how factors such as access to livelihoods, housing, and services can influence the severity of internal displacement is key to a more holistic response.
While a majority of new displacements are caused by armed conflict, others have been forced to flee their homes by criminal violence, communal violence, or political violence. Organised criminal violence associated with drug trafficking and gang activity has driven high levels of displacement in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To raise awareness of the issue at the highest levels and promote support for those affected, we have been seeking to fill data gaps in the Northern Triangle of Central America.
Protractedness is an unfortunate feature of displacement associated with conflict and violence. Despite a peace agreement, Colombia remains home to 4.9 million internally displaced people. Our research aims to support decision-making and informed investments to achieve durable solutions for those displaced.
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