The term “refugee” is familiar to nearly everyone. It refers to a person who flees his or her country due a well-founded fear of threatened or ongoing violence or persecution on grounds of race, religion, membership of a particular social group or their political opinion. The implication is that the state, its agents thereof, or some other organised group such as a political party has carried out the act of violence or persecution.
The term “internally displaced person” (IDP), however, remains relatively unknown to many. In effect it refers to a “refugee” who did not or could not flee to a neighbouring country, but rather remained inside his or her own country. Internally displaced persons in Zimbabwe are therefore refugees on their own land. The reasons that IDP’s flee their homes are much the same as those for which refugees flee, that is, persecution, violence and human rights abuse.
This Human Rights Monitor analyses the rights of IDPs with reference to national legislation and international treaties. It also provides an account of the situation of IDPs in Zimbabwe.