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Professor Chatty speaks to IRIN about how the humanitarian aid system often treats internally displaced persons and refugees differently, even when they are fleeing the same crisis

In a recent article entitled 'Refugee or IDP – does it really matter?', IRIN journalist Louise Redvers interviewed a range of experts, including Professor Dawn Chatty, about the need for a more coherent, rational approach to how programmes assisting IDPs (internally displaced persons) and refugees are funded and implemented.

A case in point is the assistance given to IDPs in Syria, and that provided to refugees from Syria who have fled to Iraq. In one example cited in the article, displaced persons at camps 25km apart receive items to help them through the winter, but because one camp is on the Syrian side of the border and the other on the Iraqi side, the parcels 'will most likely contain different items and be delivered by different teams funded by different donors.'

Professor Chatty calls for assistance to be based on need, rather than '"on-paper labels"', especially when many IDPs and refugees are fleeing the same conflict: 

In Iraq you had the case of the Iraqi Yazidis who fled Mount Sinjar. Many of them became refugees when they crossed into Syria, but then when they crossed back into Iraqi Kurdistan, they were re-categorized as IDPs, which rather makes a nonsense of these categories being so rigidly adhered to.


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