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‘A bleak future: an attack on IDP camp’

April 02, 2013

THIS is with reference to your editorial ‘A bleak future – an attack on IDP camp’ (March 25). It is true that with the car bomb attack the “plight of the hundreds and thousands of people whom society and the state have left to their own devices” has been brought to the fore for a few days.

The attack at the Jalozai camp for IDPs in which 17 people were killed and 34 injured has been condemned and a three-day mourning announced. The unprecedented displacement of hundreds of thousands of people due to military operations remains an unaddressed issue in this part of the globe. Where straightforward affairs of the state are far from being managed, the fate of the IDPs, who have been forced to flee their homes in order to avoid armed conflict and violation of human rights in their areas of residence while remaining within the borders of their own country, is like that of the marginalised and ghettoised community.

The country is poorly equipped to deal with dislocation at such a massive scale due to the scarcity of funds and the absence of a coherent force to manage such humanitarian crisis. Although the National Disaster Management Authority has been made to deal with such irregularities, it largely remains an undernourished and underperforming body. Owing to its massive scale, the crisis has gone out of the scope of a single body or organisation.

The extent can be ascertained by the statement of UNHCR head António Guterres who, on his return from Pakistan, had called the displacement crisis ‘one of the most dramatic of recent times’ as relief workers were ‘struggling to keep up with the size and speed of the displacement’.

Our approach has always been reactive as no specific framework has been drawn that spells the ways and means through which assistance and protection is to be provided.

According to the UN, every displaced person has a right to have complete protection during the entire course of his/her displacement till their safe return and reintegration.

They are talked about as a homogenous group which is far from what they are. Coming from different places with varied backgrounds, they ought not to be lumped together and their needs and requirements too must be seen according to their differences. They are people of all ages, both male and female and should be dealt with accordingly. Among the various vulnerabilities, the lack of security further adds to their load of miseries. If we can’t help them, at least we must provide security to let others do the job for us.