Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Zimbabwe

Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total populationUndetermined
Start of current displacement situation2000
Peak number of IDPs (Year)Undetermined
New displacementUndetermined
Causes of displacementHuman rights violations
Human development index173

In 2011, the situation of IDPs in Zimbabwe varied widely, depending on the reasons for their displacement and the length of time they had been displaced. Accordingly, their needs ranged from emergency humanitarian assistance to interventions aimed at securing a durable solution. For a significant proportion of them, insecure tenure over either land or housing presented a major obstacle to their integration in the place they had been displaced to. Information on the number of people internally displaced in the country was not available as of the end of the year.

People in Zimbabwe have been internally displaced as a result of different government policies and actions. Groups of IDPs include former farm workers and their families who were either evicted from their homes on farms which were affected by the fast-track land reform programme, or forced to leave after losing their jobs on those farms. Others were displaced as a result of arbitrary evictions in Zimbabwe's towns and cities, and still others by government campaigns against informal mine workers, or by politically motivated violence. Of the last group, most have been able to return home since the 2008 elections.

The response to internal displacement in Zimbabwe improved significantly in recent years. The new government started to acknowledge the existence of internal displacement in the country and in 2009 it participated with the UN in a rapid IDP assessment to determine the scope of displacement in the country. However, the findings of the assessment had not been released by the end of 2011, and plans for a more comprehensive and nationwide quantitative survey had not moved forward. Publication of the report would help the government and its partners provide appropriate assistance to IDPs, and support their achievement of durable solutions.

Humanitarian clusters were introduced in Zimbabwe in 2008. A feature in Zimbabwe is the IOM-led IDP sub-cluster under the protection cluster coordinated by UNHCR. A number of line ministries participated in cluster coordination mechanisms and they gradually allowed greater access of humanitarians to vulnerable groups including IDPs.

Increasingly in 2011, the government and its development and humanitarian partners were using community-based planning to respond to the needs of internally displaced groups and host communities together. All groups within a certain community, including IDPs, were invited to work together to identify a durable solution for IDPs and a common development plan.

The humanitarian agencies, working with national and local authorities, applied this approach in developing a framework for the voluntary resettlement of IDPs in new locations in line with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the IASC Framework for Durable Solutions and the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa (the Kampala Convention). The framework, formally endorsed by the protection cluster and the IDP sub-cluster in 2011, places emphasis on ensuring that resettled IDPs have security of tenure and livelihood opportunities. Work on similar frameworks on supporting IDPs with other settlement preferences started in 2011.

In October 2009, President Robert Mugabe was the second head of state to sign the Kampala Convention. The government, however, had not ratified the Convention by the end of 2011.


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