Displaced Yemeni children stand outside a temporary shelter at a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, 12 January 2020 | Photo: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB
Displaced Yemeni children stand outside a temporary shelter at a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, 12 January 2020 | Photo: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB

The Vatican has launched an appeal for aid and protection for the 50 million people in the world who are internally displaced in their countries due to wars and disasters. In a document, it is asking that these people not be forgotten by their countries and the international community.

There are more than 50 million internally displaced people worldwide, migrants from one part of their country to another due to wars or disasters. These people live in precarious conditions but they cannot receive the status of refugee or international protection. 

A new document by the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, approved by the pope, focuses on these people and asks local churches to work on their behalf, so that "the four verbs used by Pope Francis for migrants: welcome, protect, promote, and integrate" can also apply to them. 

International migration has taken attention away from IDPs 

"The primary responsibility for their protection rests with national authorities, which are sometimes unwilling or unable to meet their protection needs," said Card. 

Michael Czerny and Fr.Fabio Baggio, Under Secretaries of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Migrant Section, in the document's preface. 

"For this reason, it is crucial that the international community seek constructive ways to reinforce and support this responsibility, while respecting national sovereignty," they said. 

"The international community's keen interest in forced migration across international borders has sometimes deflected attention from those forcibly displaced within their own countries, increasing the vulnerability of IDPs and their need for human rights protection and humanitarian assistance," they said. 

An appeal to not forget internal 'migrants' 

"Large numbers of IDPs are often caught in desperate situations amidst fighting or in remote and inaccessible areas cut off from relief or emergency assistance," said Czerny and Baggio. 

"Even though they are often displaced in the same way, and for the same reasons as refugees, IDPs are not included within the international system of protection provided for by international refugee law," they said. 

The Vatican is calling for these "migrants" to have aid and protection and avoid them being forgotten by their countries and the international community.The document also calls on the Catholic Church, through its institutions on a local level, to support these fragile people and families who are at risk of being forgotten by everyone.
 

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