More than 31 million people were forced to flee their homes and resettle within their countries in 2016 because of conflicts, violence or natural disasters, Norwegian Refugee Committee (NRC) said Monday.
The NRC's report said that the number of internal displacements last year was equivalent to one person being forced to flee every second.
Nearly seven million displacements were caused by conflict and violence, while natural disasters forced another 24 million to flee their homes.
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) outnumber refugees by two to one, but the issue, "remains largely overshadowed, particularly with the current global focus and public attention on refugees and migrants," the humanitarian organization said.
"When a family is pushed out of their home, sometimes for years, it is a sign something is wrong in a nation, the locality, but also in international relations," Norwegian Refugee Council Director-General Jan Egeland said during the report's presentation.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Bilak, director of the NRC's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, urged to not neglect IDPs within the global context by only focusing on refugees and migrants.
"We need to acknowledge that without the right kind of support and protection, a person internally displaced today may become a refugee, an asylum seeker or an international migrant tomorrow," Bilak said.
The NRC concluded the report with a call, "for a conscious, deliberate and sustained political effort to improve the many millions of lives blighted by internal displacement and preventing others from suffering the same upheaval and trauma in the future."
The Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organization established in 1946 to promote and protect the rights of displaced people.
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