Nearly 80 million people have had to leave their homes to escape violence and persecution and now live far from their homes, the latest UN report shows. A record number that is likely to worsen over the coming months and years, according to UNHCR.
They are refugees, asylum seekers or “exterminated” in their own country. In 2019, the number of displaced people represented 79.5 million people, or more than 1% of humanity, according to the latest report by the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Published Thursday, June 18. A figure that has doubled in ten years.
“One percent of the world’s population cannot return home because of war, persecution, human rights violations and other forms of violence,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said in an interview with AFP.
“This is a trend that has been observed since 2012: the figures are higher than last year”, adds Filippo Grandi, for which this means “there have been more conflicts, more violence”.
“Insufficient political solutions”
It also reflects “insufficient political solutions” taken to end the crises that drive people out of their homes and prevent them from returning.
Ten years ago, the number of displaced people was 40 million, he said. “So it’s doubled. And we don’t see the trend slowing down.” The UNHCR report shows that 45.7 million people had moved to other regions of their country, 26 million refugees living outside their borders.
About 4.2 million were asylum seekers, in addition to 3.6 million Venezuelans who were counted separately.
“The international community is so divided, so unable to make peace that unfortunately the situation will continue to worsen, and I am very afraid that next year will be even worse than this year,” Grandi said.
13.2 million displaced in Syria
In 2019 alone, UNHCR reports another 11 million IDPs, largely in a small number of war-driven countries. Among them is Syria, devastated by nine years of armed conflict, and which has 13.2 million internally displaced people inside or outside the country, or one-sixth of the total.
No less than 68% of all refugees registered in the world come from five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Burma.
Clearly, “if the international community managed to find the unity, political will and resources to help these countries get out of the crisis and rebuild themselves, we probably would have solved more than half of the world’s problems” to refugees, he says.
If the report does not mention the emergence of the new coronavirus pandemic in the problem of displaced people, it adds to the difficulties of the people concerned in a context where it is repeated that “relocation has consequences for oneself and for others”.
Increase in poverty
And the economic impact of the pandemic is spectacular in poor and developing countries. “What we have seen dramatically increase is poverty,” the containment does not allow many displaced people to find sources of income, he said.
In these circumstances, and despite restrictions on mobility, countries must continue to grant asylum to those in need.
“Unfortunately, people continue to flee their homes because of a pandemic or not, they are threatened […] and they still need protection, protection, asylum, “said the head of the UNHCR.