The Sudanese Darfur crisis and internally displaced persons in international law

the least protection for the most vulnerable

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The article examines the international legal position of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the wake of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The innocent civilians of Darfur have become the primary target of an armed conflict in Sudan since 1983. The terrorised survivors fled their homes in search of safety, causing massive forced internal population displacement. The number of IDPs in the world has steadily been increasing, and has now outstripped the number of refugees. Yet there is no specific international legal and institutional apparatus for IDPs. This article highlights and addresses the problems of their legal identity, rights, humanitarian assistance, and protection in international law. It traces the development of international legal and institutional frameworks for IDPs and their current state of coverage and protection. It offers suggestions to overcome the inadequate legal coverage and uncertain protection. The marginalised plight of IDPs needs to be addressed in a holistic manner as an integral part of the international protection of human rights and the enforcement of humanitarian law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-385
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Refugee Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • internally displaced persons (IDPs)
  • Darfur crisis
  • legal rights
  • human rights
  • humanitarian law

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