The history of the formation and inherent features of the term «Internally Displaced Persons»

  • Olha Fesenko Classical Private University
Keywords: internally displaced persons (IDPs), migrant, permanent place of residence, movement, relocation, involuntary


The article reveals historical development of the term “internally displaced person” in international law. Reasons for creation of the definition “IDPs” and identifying them as a category of international concern include: 1) in the mid-1990s IDPs outnumbered refugees; 2) humanitarian crisis in the countries affected by internal displacement; 3) economic interest of states in stopping flows of asylum seekers; 4) necessity of conducting statistical analyses, as well as of framing laws and policy to assist them.

The author also analyzes the phenomenon of internal displacement and the evolution of the definition of IDPs in international law and Ukrainian legislation with the aim of determining its benefits and drawbacks. Two core elements of the concept of internal displacement are: 1) movement of people within internationally recognized borders of their country; 2) involuntary nature of this movement. Among disputable features there are such as: 1) causes of displacement (conflicts, natural and humanmade disasters, development projects and taking into account the possibility of economic problems); 2) number of people that should be affected by them and decided to flee; 3) existence of private losses; 4) the permanence of the movement.

In addition, the author detects flaws of Ukrainian legal definition, such as lack of definition “permanent place of residence” in legislation and a limited list of causes for displacement. As a result there were made some recommendations for the improvement of the Law “On ensuring of rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons” (dated 20.10.14). Special attention, at the same time, is paid to the importance of components of the “IDP” definition for their accurate registration.


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How to Cite
Fesenko, O. (2019). The history of the formation and inherent features of the term «Internally Displaced Persons». Administrative Law and Process, (1(15), 67-73. Retrieved from
General administrative law