Who are Refugees?
A refugee is someone who:
“…owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
Who are internally displaced persons?
People who have fled for safety within the borders of their home countries are officially considered internally displaced persons or IDPs.
Today, there are 26 million IDPs displaced by conflict in 52 countries around the world. More than half of them are fleeing conflicts in just three countries: Sudan, Colombia, and Iraq. Around three-quarters of all IDPs are children and women.
While IDPs in armed conflicts have rights under international law, there is no international agency with a mandate to protect and assist them. Since they are living within their own countries, IDPs remain under the legal jurisdiction of their national authorities, which may well be involved in the violence they are fleeing.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has extended its scope to include certain IDP populations. Local or international aid agencies also provide assistance. But in some areas, such as Iraq, the violence is too intense for independent outside help to reach those most in need. And many IDPs are displaced over and over again: in Sudan and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, thousands of people have been regularly uprooted by conflict.
Source for IDP figures: Internal Displacement Monitoring Center