Local Citizens or Internally Displaced Persons? Dilemmas of Long Term Displacement in Sri Lanka


Brun, Cathrine. 2003. “Local Citizens or Internally Displaced Persons? Dilemmas of Long Term Displacement in Sri Lanka.” Journal of Refugee Studies 16 (4): 376–97.

Author: Cathrine Brun


People who seek refuge from conflict, but do not cross an internationally recognized border, have attracted increased attention from the international humanitarian community since the end of the Cold War. While refugees who flee the country may obtain a legal status and protection under the Refugee Convention, IDPs are still under the jurisdiction of their own state, and should in principle have the same rights as other citizens of the country. The article aims at analysing local consequences of people being designated as IDPs, exemplified by Sri Lanka's protracted crisis of internal displacement. Locally, ‘internally displaced persons’ becomes a social category and the meaning of the category is modified from the original definition made by the humanitarian regime. War and the forced and voluntary movement of people within Sri Lanka create unequal access to citizenship rights. The IDP status is often regarded as essential in order to secure special needs for assistance and protection. However, the article shows that the IDP status in Sri Lanka also separates IDPs from other citizens, and may restrict rather than secure rights.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Humanitarian Assistance, Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2003

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.