Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch

Refugees and Internally Displaced People

  • Joachim Gardemann
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_2954


A refugee is any person fleeing to a place of safety and being outside the country of his or her nationality (UNHCR 1996). In contrast, internally displaced people (IDP) are those who have fled to a place of safety within the national borders of their country of origin. Both refugees and IDP are at-risk populations in terms of health. Recent international activities try to integrate both subgroups using the unifying concept of forced migration.

Basic Characteristics

Refugees and Relief Organizations

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the UN organization caring for refugees. In the year 2005, the total population of concern to UNHCR increased to 20.8 million persons worldwide (UNHCR 2005). Of this endangered population, about 40 percent are regarded as being refugees, 32 percent as being internally displaced persons (IDP) and 11 percent as being stateless ( stateless person). These figures are estimates and the true numbers might be even higher...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Gardemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachhochschule MünsterMünsterGermany