2009 Dialogue: Related Themes

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© UNHCR/P.Sands, December 2006

This web page has been divided thematically to enable participants to understand and navigate through the complex topic of challenges to people of concern in cities and urban settings. Under each heading, you will find links to relevant articles, evaluations and tools:




Urban Refugees

More than half the refugees UNHCR serves now live in urban areas

Colombia: Life in the Barrios

After more than forty years of internal armed conflict, Colombia has one of the largest populations of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the world. Well over two million people have been forced to flee their homes; many of them have left remote rural areas to take refuge in the relative safety of the cities.

Displaced families often end up living in slum areas on the outskirts of the big cities, where they lack even the most basic services. Just outside Bogota, tens of thousands of displaced people live in the shantytowns of Altos de Cazuca and Altos de Florida, with little access to health, education or decent housing. Security is a problem too, with irregular armed groups and gangs controlling the shantytowns, often targeting young people.

UNHCR is working with the authorities in ten locations across Colombia to ensure that the rights of internally displaced people are fully respected – including the rights to basic services, health and education, as well as security.

Colombia: Life in the Barrios

Falujah Iraq: Life In LimboPlay video

Falujah Iraq: Life In Limbo

Despite a decrease in violence in Iraq, millions of people remain displaced. This is the story of 50 displaced families living in a former hospital in the central Iraqi city of Fallujah.