A wake-up call to the Governmentto save the endangering lives of its IDPs.

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There were almost over 250’000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Somaliland before the current conflict in Sanaag Region. Recently several thousands of new IDPs have fled their homes due to Sanaag Region conflicts. Internally Displaced Persons are people who are forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters, human-made disasters, violations of human rights, generalized violence and armed conflict; but who remain within their own country. The IDPs in Somaliland was affected by droughts, by tsunami and by conflicts that together affected 60 per cent of the country’s rural population; but mostly these IDPs are forced due to droughts.

The theme of my article is to bring the issue of these suffering citizens among us in the light and draw the attention of all concerned to the life struggle that the IDPs are facing.It is a wake-up call to the leaders, to the government, to the international agencies, and to the community in large towards the people in the unrecognized IDP camps around all towns and villages of Somaliland; andthe many other IDPs dispersed among the communities; who were neglected through ineffective national governance and insufficient information to the international agencies. According to the above estimates Somaliland can be one of the countries with the most internally displaced people; but these IDPs in the country are not internationally recognized.

This lack of information by the international community is due to the carelessness of the concerned institutions of the government. All displaced people whether internal or cross border displacement have a right to protection and to feed and care.The Government has a duty towards the IDPs, the international community has a duty to ensure that the rights of the IDPs are secured; the NGOs, the local governments, human rights institutions and the community at large have their respective roles of the responsibility to help these IDPs and enable them to have their independent sustainable livelihoods.

These people who fled from the rural live when their livestock were drivenout by the droughts and come around all Somaliland cities and villages faced abject poverty, tenure insecurity and evictions or expulsions from where they temporarily settled. These IDPs are now in a sad severity and difficult life situation. We can describe that the government does not have any concernto the difficulty facing its poor communities. The Government and municipalities have the primary responsibility for the protection and welfare of the IDPs.It is the duty of the government to save the endangering lives of the country’s internally displaced people and to address this challengeand find positive solutions to this continuing displacement and reach a durable solution.

These IDPs remained protracted in unrecognized IDP camps and villages in the last several years due to prolonged negligence from the government. And this displacement protraction caused a particularly traumatic impact on children, and placed them in high-risk circumstances that put them in need of specific protection measures. Many internally displaced families lose their children mostly less than five years of age; and the children at their school age lacked access to education. The government failed to exercise these constitutional duties towards the IDPs; and even did not yet talked about the IDPs issue and the problem they are facing.

The government even failed to inform the international agencies about the severity and painful situation these IDPs are within; because Somaliland IDPs in the hundreds of temporary settlements in the country were not included in theGlobal Report on Internal Displacementpublished byUnited Nations in Geneva this year.The first thing that can be done for IDPs is to assess and ensure the number of families and persons considered as IDPs from the rural areas in the unrecognized temporary camps or dispersed among the local communities in the respective districts.

After this assessment, the next step is to set temporary and internationally recognized IDP camps as per region; then provide them the essential human needs—food, tents, clothes, utensils, water, sanitation and free social services like health services for all & education for their children. In the world the IDPs are receiving sufficient food, water and other lifesaving materials from the international community every day, to help stop starvation and malnutrition; but Somaliland IDPs are lacking all these humanitarian supports because of the carelessness of the government of Somaliland.

Such free essential life needs and basic social services secured for all the IDPs are only humanitarian aid which often fosters continuing dependence. On the other hand, this short-term humanitarian assistance has proven to be inadequate, unsustainable, and unsuited to the protracted nature of many IDPs crises. As such, these IDPs need to provide them coordinated efforts enablingthem to support themselves and find sustainable solutions for their displacement. In order to reach this goal, A Plan of Action for long-term strategy solutions should be introduced and spearheaded by the government and UNHCR, exactly after the first essential needs were provided to them.

This multi-stakeholder should be contributed by other UN agencies, International Agencies, the World Bank, Humanitarian and academic Institutions, national NGOs, national rich companies and Individual experts. This action plan is aiming to call on all these relevant actors to step up their efforts around the priorities of contributing the help of the IDPs. This action plan is to launch fund and related resources raising project to buy enough livestock for every family identified as an IDPs from rural; enabling them go back to their rural life and manage their rural livelihoods. The implementation of this plan will provide sustainable livelihoods to all IDPs, resolve their standing problems, encourage self-reliance, improve opportunities to advance themselves, and promote their future dignity.

We should know the fact that our cities becoming sanctuary to more and more internally displaced people is an urban phenomenon and represents a challenge to even the livelihoods of the urban people. Such influxes with no strategic plan to address and find solution can aggravate the existing living challenges and can cause future human risks.Because of these said challenges ahead of us, there is an urgent need to cooperate with the international community to discuss how Somaliland can build resilienceor empower the ability to cope with and rise to the inevitable challenges, problems and set-backs we are facing in the drought impacts and in the course of the climate change in our country.

Adam Ali Younis aayonis@hotmail.com

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