A displaced person
) is a person who has been forced to leave his
or her native place, a phenomenon known as forced migration
Origin of term
The term was first widely used during World
and the resulting refugee outflows from Eastern Europe
, when it was used to
specifically refer to one removed from his or her native country as
a slave laborer
. The meaning has
significantly broadened in the past half-century. A displaced
person may also be referred to as a forced
. The term "refugee" is also commonly used as a
synonym for displaced person, causing confusion between the general
descriptive class of anyone who has left their home and the
subgroup of legally defined refugees
enjoy specified international legal protection.
A.J. Jaffe claimed that the term was originally coined by Eugene M. Kulischer
International law aspects
If the displaced person has crossed an international border and
falls under one of the relevant
international legal instruments
, they are considered a refugee
. A forced migrant who left his or her home
because of political persecution or violence, but did not cross an
international border, is commonly considered to be the less
well-defined category of internally displaced person
(IDP), and is subject to more tenuous international protection. The
forced displacement of a number of refugees or internally displaced
persons according to an identifiable policy is an example of
. A displaced
person who crosses an international border without permission from
the country they are entering is an illegal immigrant. The most visible
recent case of this is the large number of North Koreans who have settled in the border region of China.
A migrant who fled because of economic hardship is an economic migrant
. A special sub-set of
this is development-induced
displacement, in which the forced migrant was forced out their
home because of economically-driven projects like that of the
Dam in China and various Indian dams.
The internally displaced person generally refers to one who is
forced to migrate for reasons other than economic conditions, such
as war or persecution. There is a body of opinion that holds that
persons subject to development-induced
should have greater legal protection than that
granted economic migrants
Persons are often displaced due to natural
or man-made disasters. No specific
international legal instrument applies to such individuals, though
their welfare remains the responsibility of the state to which they
are citizens. Foreign nations often offer disaster relief to
mitigate the effects of such disaster displacement.
Following the effects of Hurricane
in 2005, the term "refugee" was sometimes used to
describe people displaced by the storm and the aftereffects. There
was an outcry that the term should not be used to describe
Americans displaced within their own county, and the term "evacuee"
was substituted in its place.
"DP" can also be a derogatory term used when referring to
immigrants, specifically those from Eastern Europe, who have not
been forced out of their native countries.
- Mark Wyman: Dps: Europe's Displaced Persons,
1945-1951. Cornell University Press 1998 (reprint). ISBN
- A. J. Jaffe: Notes on the Population Theory of Eugene M.
Kulischer. In: The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, Vol.
40, No. 2. (April 1962). Pp. 187-206. (online)
- U.N. Convention relating to status of Refugees
- Associated Press story on debate