Pastoral Orientations on Internally Displaced People

The POIDP builds upon the teachings of the Catholic Church about IDPs. It provides practical guidelines for local Churches affected by forced displacement and identifies pastoral practices which can be carried out and renewed.

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internal migrants displacement Migrants and Refugees

Over 50.8 Million Worldwide

In 2019 there were around 33.4 million new displaced persons:


8.5 million were displaced by conflicts (25%):

5.2 million displaced people

by armed conflicts

2.7 million displaced people 

by the use of force between communities (ethnic, religious indiscrimination, etc.)

16,600 displaced people 

by for violence for political reasons

592,900 displaced people 

by for criminal violence (murders, threats, extortion)

39,700 displaced people 

by other causes


24.9 million were displaced by environmental disasters (75%):

13 million displaced people

by storms

11.9 million displaced people 

by hurricanes and typhoons

10 millions displaced people 

by floods

947,000 displaced people 

by geophysical events such as earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions

Regional Division of Displaced People:


Environmental disasters

Regional Division of Displaced People:

Sub-Saharan Africa 

53.7% displaced by conflicts

13.9% displaced by environmental disasters

North Africa and the Middle East

30% displaced by conflict

2.5% displaced by environmental disasters

Europe and Central Asia 

0.03% displaced by conflict

0.4% displaced by environmental disasters

East Asia and the Pacific Area 

3.4% displaced by conflict

38.6% displaced by environmental disasters

South Asia 

5.8% displaced by conflict

38.3% displaced by environmental disasters

The Americas

7% displaced by conflicts

6.2% displaced by environmental disasters


Internally Displaced People (IDPs), as defined by the UNHCR, “have been forced to flee, to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, particularly as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflicts, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, but who have not crossed an internationally recognized State border.” The Church accompanies these vulnerable people on the move who are among the most forgotten and neglected of our times.

Internal migrants dad and daughter Migrants and Refugees
Internal migrants mum and daughter Migrants and Refugees


Here are some helpful resources to help you understand the Church’s response for IDPs.