Invisible Citizens Week draws attention to plight of world’s 40 million internally displaced people OCHA and Ogilvy partner to reach a global audience

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Apr 2019

New York, 17 April 2019: Tens of millions of people around the world have been driven out of their homes by war, hunger, earthquakes and other perils. Among the most vulnerable are 40 million people who have been forced to flee, but never crossed a border. Lacking special protection in their darkest hour of need, many of these largely unnoticed women, men and children have fled their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They often urgently need essential necessities such as shelter, food and clean water, while stripped of their rights and basic protections.

To draw the world’s attention to their plight, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has launched an innovative YouTube campaign, ‘Unavailable Content’, in collaboration with Ogilvy, a global marketing and communication company. The campaign is at the heart of OCHA’s Invisible Citizens Week which begins today and is dedicated to shining a spotlight on this resilient yet vulnerable group of people.

“Internally displaced people are not second-class citizens. And they should never be invisible citizens, denied their rights or ignored by policymakers,” said Malene Jensen, Chief of OCHA’s Strategic Communications Branch.

‘Unavailable Content’ hinges on drawing in millions of YouTube users searching popular video categories such as cooking, health and wellness, home and design, and humour. These users are presented with links to brief videos that mimic an “unavailable content” message, before highlighting a life necessity that is unavailable to IDPs but related to the category they were searching.

“This is a great example of how the UN can work with talented companies to reach new audiences and help raise awareness and support for a group of people who far too often go unnoticed,” said Jensen.

The goal of the brief disruption to people’s YouTube experience is to ignite global conversation and action around “invisible citizens” by giving a wide audience an understanding of IDPs’ realities.

Invisible Citizens Week coincides with the one-year anniversary today, 17 April, of the launch by United Nations agencies and partners of the three-year Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection and Solutions for Internally Displaced People, which was adopted on the 20th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (GP20).

The ‘Unavailable Content’ campaign encourages global citizens to sign a petition in support of the GP20 Mission Statement. The petition will be used by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs in her advocacy work advancing prevention, protection and solutions for the displaced. The campaign also provides links to donate to humanitarian agencies assisting this vulnerable group of women, men and children who often live in deplorable circumstances. In 2017 alone, conflicts, persecution and disasters resulted in 80,000 people a day becoming internally displaced within their own countries.

For the full Unavailable Content campaign, click here

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit