Displaced People Worldwide: A Responsibility to Protect

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Displaced People Worldwide

More than 60 million people worldwide are now forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution. Several million people remain displaced because of natural disasters, although updated statistics are not available.

More than 15 million of the uprooted are refugees who fled their home countries, while another 27 million are people who remain displaced by conflict within their own homelands  – so-called ‘internally displaced people’.

Major refugee populations include Syrians (3 million externally and 6.5 million internally), Palestinians (4.8 million), Afghans (2.9 million), Iraqis (1.8 million), Somalis (700,000) Congolese (456,000), Sudanese (370,000).

In 2014 more than 250,000 people tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea, of whom 3,702 are known to have died. The deaths of all migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe by sea in 2015 now total 2,373. The international Organisation for Migration has said that last year, from late August through the end of December, over 1,200 of these people died at sea.

‘The international community has a duty to step in on behalf of civilians at risk of crimes against humanity, whenever a government is either directly responsible for these crimes or incapable of stopping them’. UN World Summit, New York 2005 – Unanimous Approval by 170 Nations attending.

Let us look to seeking an integral solution to the major migration related environmental health (EH) challenges currently occurring and to furthering an environmental health sustainability response in keeping with our commitment to upholding international human rights and responsibilities.

An holistic and integral response must go beyond the scope of an emergency intervention and avail of the diverse strategies that are unfolding. These could include a variety of elements, including international EH jurisprudence and in respecting the social principles adopted in the IFEH sustainability indicators initiative.

Refugees have been deprived of their homes, but they must not be deprived of their futures UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

Fred O’Brien, Founding Director (1986), Hon. V.P.(Ireland), IFEH

IFEH Meeting, Coimbra, Portugal, September, 2015


Presentation supported by PowerPoint & References 

References as supporting documents are provided as follows:


Internal Displacement: A Global Environmental Health Challenge pps 7-9


Environmental Health, Human Rights and Global Governance pps 4-5

Yes You Do Count: A Teaching Programme on Human Rights (1995) by Maura Ward, Irish Commission for Justice and Peace. ISBN 0 905911 20 2

Positive story of a Resettled Displaced family

The Conquistadors were Murderers

Las Casas – Brief Outline of His Life

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007): http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

Even the Rain (Film); Directed by Iciar Bollain; Written by Paul Laverty – The film examines the story of Christopher Columbus and the Cochabamba water wars in Bolivia, through the tale of a film director played By Gael Garcia Bernal.  See Link: http://dogwoof.com/documentary/blog/post/even_the_rain_paul_laverty_screenplay/6792