UN sets up new unit to respond to crisis of 50 million internally displaced persons

8 January 2002

With an estimated 50 million people around the world having lost their homes due to war and natural disasters, the United Nations has set up a new unit to respond to the severe crisis of internally displaced persons.

With an estimated 50 million people around the world having lost their homes due to war and natural disasters, the United Nations has set up a new unit to respond to the severe crisis of internally displaced persons.

Located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, the Unit on Internal Displacement will provide expertise to advise and support Kenzo Oshima, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in his role as the Organization's focal point on internal displacement, and to guide the response of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

The Unit, which will be headed by Kofi Asomani as Director and Special Coordinator on Internal Displacement, will also have a liaison function in OCHA's office in New York. It comprises staff seconded from various UN agencies dealing with refugees (UNHCR), children (UNICEF), development (UNDP) and food security (WFP), as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) community.

The Unit will also work closely with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, the IOM, and the large number of non-governmental organizations, both international and local, who are widely involved with this issue. The Unit will also maintain close links with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Representative on Internally Displaced Persons, Francis Deng, particularly in support of the latter's advocacy function.

 

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