Foreign Affairs: Internally Displaced Persons Lack Effective Protection

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Internally displaced persons--those forced to flee their homes because of armed conflict and persecution but who remain within their own country--are among the most at-risk, vulnerable populations in the world. Although some protections have been provided to internally displaced persons, international organizations have been unable to fully meet their needs in most locations, partly because of the danger in operating in conflict zones, the presence of personal security risks to aid workers, and the decline in budgetary resources, but also because international organizations have not taken ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. August 17, 2001.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Internally displaced persons--those forced to flee their homes because of armed conflict and persecution but who remain within their own country--are among the most at-risk, vulnerable populations in the world. Although some protections have been provided to internally displaced persons, international organizations have been unable to fully meet their needs in most locations, partly because of the danger in operating in conflict zones, the presence of personal security risks to aid workers, and the decline in budgetary resources, but also because international organizations have not taken a proactive approach toward protection. Also, international relief workers have not received training on how to incorporate protection considerations and interventions into their assistance activities. In the three countries GAO visited, international organizations do not coordinate their protection actions within the countries in which they operate. Without such coordination, international organizations are unable to share basic information on the location of their protection officers and effective approaches to protection interventions. The U.N. Security Council is one forum in which these matters can be addressed in the context of underlying political and security factors. The U.S. government has no overall policy or lead office to coordinate its efforts for dealing with internally displaced persons. Instead, government activities aimed at this effort are dispersed among different agencies and offices. Some Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development officials believe that providing assistance to the internally displaced in this way is labor and time intensive, lacks accountability, and leads to duplication of activities. Although State is required to provide Congress with an annual report on human rights violations, these reports include only limited information on the treatment of internally displaced persons. Moreover, the country reports do not have a standardized format for providing information on the internally displaced and their human rights conditions which would allow concerned parties to access the information readily. Increased and more systematic reporting that provided some focus on internally displaced persons would identify a significant problem and would provide the U.S. government and international and nongovernmental organizations' officials with country-level data to craft a cohesive program and policy response."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • August 17, 2001

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Foreign Affairs: Internally Displaced Persons Lack Effective Protection, report, August 17, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291377/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.