Thematic series: the invisible majority

The vast majority of people who flee their homes to escape conflict, violence and disasters do not cross an international border. Of the 65 million people forcibly displaced around the world, 40 million – or more than six out of ten – are internally displaced people. They are the invisible majority.

The relationship between internal displacement and movements of refugees and migrants is not well understood. This is a major knowledge gap which we want to address. In the coming years, we will seek to build an evidence base painting a more quantitative and qualitative picture of the entire displacement continuum, from the drivers of onward movement across borders to return to countries of origin.


IDPs on the displacement continuum

Thematic series: The invisible majority

This introductory paper presents our thematic programme. It also provides a list of potential case studies and current and targeted partners. To undertake this massive task, we invite all the data, information and support that affected communities, international agencies, NGOs, academic institutions and governments can provide.

Download the paper (PDF, 0,4MB)


Internal displacement and the Global Compact on Refugees – Are today’s returning refugees tomorrow’s IDPs?

Thematic series: the invisible majority

On the occasion of the thematic discussion for the global compact on refugees (November 2017) we publish a new policy brief reviewing the existing policy and research and set out our position on returning refugees, internal displacement and durable solutions. Such research was collected with the aim of informing this week’s thematic discussions, and we provide concrete suggestions for input to the global compact’s programme of action.

Download the policy brief (PDF, 0.4MB)


Returnees in Syria - Sustainable reintegration and durable solutions, or a return to displacement?

Thematic series: the invisible majority

In the absence of systematic data along the displacement continuum, this paper aims to shed some light on the push and pull factors throughout the displacement journey and on the wide spectrum of returning refugee and IDP experiences in Syria.

Download the case study (PDF, 2.1MB)


Going "home" to displacement - Afghanistan returnee-IDPs

Thematic series: the invisible majority

At the end of 2017, internal displacement in Afghanistan was back on a rising trend. As the conflict deteriorated, so too did the welcome of Afghans in neighbouring countries. As many as half a million undocumented Afghans returned from Iran and Pakistan between January and November 2017, many by force.

The data presented in this case study is drawn from 2017 research on IDPs’ protection needs carried out by Samuel Hall for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). It looks at the main challenges former refugees and migrants who have returned home to internal displacement, known as returnee-IDPs, face in achieving durable solutions, and argues that returnees who continue to face needs related to displacement and should be included in planning and policy for internal displacement.

Download the case study (PDF, 0.4MB)


Download the introduction the the thematic series