Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

The Plight of IDPs Ignored

As the security situation in Afghanistan has not been satisfactory for decades now, many people have been disturbed. There are many people who have left the country and are now refugees in other countries. Many others have been displaced in their own country but still they have suffered as the new places have brought about many challenges for them. They are identified as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and just like the immigrants, they also face different sorts of problems. However, their troubles are not highlighted as often as that of the refugees or immigrants.
A report by Amnesty International (IA), My Children Will Die This Winter: Afghanistan’s Broken Promise to the Displaced, earlier this year showed that the number of people displaced in Afghanistan because of the prevailing violence and poverty had more than doubled over the past three years – it climbed from 500,000 to 1.2 million. The number is really large and shows how increasing insecurity and consistent poverty have victimized the poor people of Afghanistan. And, the trouble is not just the increasing number of the IDPs but also the different sorts of trouble these all people face while they become IDPs.
And, recent reports from Uruzgan show that as heavy clashes continue in Trinkot city, thousands of families have left their homes and have fled to neighboring provinces including Kandahar. According to the local officials, nearly 6,000 families have escaped to Kandahar who are going through difficult times as they have poor access to food, water and other facilities. Mohammad Azam Nawabi, provincial director of Refugees and Repatriation Affairs, said in a statement, "At least 260 of the families have received assistance so far. We welcome this move and we hope that it continues by other individuals and organizations. Meanwhile, a number of displaced families have said that they are faced with numerous challenges – including lack of drinking water, shelter and food. The displaced families claim that Taliban used their houses as their strongholds, adding that government should ensure Uruzgan's security in the near future.
There is no doubt in the fact that IDPs face numerous problems including inadequate shelter, a lack of food and water as well as limited access to education, healthcare and employment. Unfortunately, this large number of people with so many troubles have not been able to gain much attention, neither by national authorities nor by international organizations.
It is important to see that there are not only physiological needs of these people; there are so many other requirements as well that they should get. Their psychological needs are also imperative but because there is no arrangement even for the physiological needs, the psychological and emotional needs are out of question. It is really difficult for the people to leave their homes and their birthplaces. The new places are always unknown to them and it is really difficult for them to adjust at such places. Moreover, the new places do not always welcome them with open arms. The people already living at that place may not be happy by the arrival of new people and may not be ready to share the limited resources that they have.
Few among them may be economically sound and they may have travelled because of insecurity. Only they are able to start their lives anew, while most of them suffer from poverty and thus they have no other option but to find support in one way or the other. In some cases, the government or private support may reach to them but that also proves to be insufficient or ill-managed.
In other cases, they are provided some shelters, where they can live and some food and drinking water; however, that is not adequate for them to stay healthy and fight diseases. In the wake of such a condition, the arrangements by the Afghan government are almost non-existent. According to an earlier report by Amnesty International (AI), Afghan authorities promised to improve the conditions of the IDPs; however, the promises have not been fulfilled, instead the daily threats of forced eviction, from both government and private actors, of the IDPs have persisted on daily basis.
The Report also highlighted that in 2014, the Afghan government did endorse a new National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons, raising hopes of displaced people and their advocates that the situation would change. However, the Report found that the policy has not delivered for IDPs. Despite the comprehensive approach outlined, very little has happened in practice. In reality, the policy is a failed promise and the situation for those who are internally displaced has deteriorated in the period since the policy was introduced.
So, as an urgent step, the government authorities must make sure that the IDPs get proper food, shelter, clothing and other needs like education and health facilities. Coupled with that, the authorities should also have a long-term strategy in place that should clearly highlight the steps to restore peace and tranquility in different parts of the country so that the IDPs return to their own houses, which they deserve.