"This issue of Conflict Trends highlights the plight of displaced persons in Africa, at the present time. It therefore covers refugees, IDPs and the communities that are affected by displacement. We examine the complex body of legislation, rules and regulations that govern assistance and protection for persons in these categories and expose the special challenges that confront women, children and other vulnerable people. Most importantly, we seek to add to the body of knowledge and lessons learned that will no doubt assist the world in dealing with the tragedies in places like Darfur, Niger, and South East Asia. Two consistent themes emerge in this issue of Conflict Trends: first, there is a need for immediate and ongoing assistance and services for refugees and IDPs in their current circumstances, and second, the underlying causes of such mass displacements of people in Africa need to be addressed. It is therefore crucial that we not only look at addressing the plight of refugees and IDPs in their present circumstances but that we ideally seek to reduce and eliminate the phenomena of displacement by dealing with the root causes of conflicts, and by addressing the global environmental challenges that are spurring increased natural disasters the world over."