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Displacements in South Asia

Context

  • According to a report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in 2023 conflict and violence in South Asia led to 69,000 displacements, with the Manipur violence contributing to 67,000 of these.
  • This is the highest number of conflict-triggered displacements in India since 2018.

Details of the Manipur Conflict

  • On May 3, 2023, a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in Manipur’s hill districts protested the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
  • The march resulted in ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities, causing over 200 deaths.
  • The Manipur High Court had called for recommendations to grant ST status to the Meitei community in March 2022, which faced resistance from other local STs, including the Kukis.
  • Land disputes also fueled the tensions.
  • The violence spread from Churachandpur district to other districts like Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Tengnoupal, and Kangpokpi, causing around 67,000 displacements.

Displacement and Response

  • More than three-quarters of the displaced persons remained within Manipur, with others moving to Mizoram, Nagaland, and Assam.
  • The Union government imposed curfews, shut down the internet, and deployed security forces.
  • Relief camps were set up, and a peace committee was established, though its effectiveness was limited by disagreements about its composition.

India’s Internal Displacement Scenario

  • Internal displacement refers to forced movements within a country’s borders and can occur multiple times for the same individuals.
  • At the end of 2023, India had 0.61 million internally displaced persons.
  • The report stated that 68.3 million people worldwide were displaced by conflict and violence as of 2023, with a 22.6 million increase in the past five years, mainly in 2022 and 2023.

Global Displacement Crisis

  • Globally, 68.3 million people were displaced by conflict and violence in 2023.
  • Over the past five years, conflict-induced internal displacement has increased by 22.6 million, with the two largest increases in 2022 and 2023.
  • Fighting in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Palestinian territories accounted for most new conflict-related displacements in 2023.
  • Sudan witnessed 6 million forced movements due to violence in 2023.
    • It is the second-highest number of forced movements within a year after Ukraine’s 16.9 million in 2022
  • Including displacements caused by natural disasters, the total number of internally displaced persons reached a record 75.9 million by the end of 2023.

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