NOVEMBER 2, 2009: "Residual" IDPs Need Help To Go Home

"Residual" IDPs Need Help To Go Home


PADER/NAIROBI, 2 November 2009 (IRIN) - Most Ugandans displaced by two decades of conflict in the north have returned to their villages but a significant number are still stuck in camps and should be helped to leave, observers say.

"Significant numbers of those who remain in the camps are there not out of choice but because they are unable to return to their home areas," the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) states in an August report.

"Some IDPs [internally displaced persons] cannot return because land disputes prevent them from accessing land, while IDPs with special needs and vulnerabilities are unable to support themselves in the return areas."

Years of conflict between the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) forced two million people from their homes, but according to the government fewer than 500,000 remain in camps.

"Sustaining returns remains a challenge that must be addressed by quick impact recovery and development activities, which requires stronger action by development agencies and support of donors," Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of IDPs, said in a 26 October statement to the General Assembly.

"Despite the huge progress made thus far, the fate of a considerable number of particularly vulnerable individuals left behind in camps or living in transit sites as well as a general lack of synchronicity between the phasing out of humanitarian assistance and the increase of development activities in returnee areas continue to be a source of concern," he added...

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