The Union Government is taking measures step by step to close the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the country. As long as they are residing in these camps, displaced persons cannot get full access to education and healthcare, and their participation in the economy is not possible.
People are displaced due to social unrest, violence and armed conflicts, as well as natural disasters.
Among them, people who fled their homes during social conflicts and stayed in IDP camps have faced adverse consequences and cannot get access to rights granted by the law. The most vulnerable groups in the camps are the elderly, physically handicapped persons and expectant mothers.
IDP camps have limited job opportunities for displaced people, no freedom movement, and a lack of opportunities for youth to participate in the country’s development.
There is a need to provide the right of movement for those staying in the IDP camps, as well as help them get meaningful jobs.
There are more than 140 displaced persons camps, with a total population of more than 160,000 in 15 townships in four states.
It is important to adopt a plan and policy to close the displaced persons camps, and work procedures need to be set up so that the closing of the camps can be conducted, based on international norms, and for this, international cooperation is required.
During the time of the incumbent government, three IDP camps in Rakhine State have been closed and the closure of three others is almost complete. Rakhine State IDP camps set up in 2012 were meant to be temporary camps, but have been in existence for more than five years now.
The closure must be systematic and needs to consider the consequences.
The authorities are making efforts to close the IDP camps in three other states. In some areas, it is not easy to close the camps. Taking into consideration their benefits before closure, the authorities have created job opportunities, provided education, conducted vocational training courses and provided capital to the IDPs so that they can stand on their own feet.
Regarding the IDP camps in Rakhine State, the Kofi Annan Commission’s report has suggested the closure of the IDP camps.
During the term of the incumbent government, work had started to close down the displaced persons camps starting May 2016. The Central Committee for Implementation of Peace, Stability and Development in Rakhine State was formed, and a work committee was created to conduct the closing procedures.
Under the leadership of the Union Government, efforts to close the IDP camps would be made with added momentum, while a strategic plan to close the camps that will be of acceptable international standard is being considered.