Record 120 million people forcibly displaced worldwide - UN 

  13 June 2024    Read: 437
  Record 120 million people forcibly displaced worldwide - UN 

A staggering total of 120 million people are living forcibly displaced by war, violence and persecution, the UN said Thursday, branding the ever-increasing number a “terrible indictment on the state of the world”, reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

The United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR said forced displacement globally had once again smashed records, with conflicts in places like Gaza, Sudan and Myanmar forcing even more people to flee their homes.

The global displaced population is now equivalent to that of Japan, it pointed out in a statement.

“Conflict remains a very, very big driver of mass displacement,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told reporters.

At the end of last year, 117.3 million people were displaced, UNHCR said in a report.

And by the end of April, the number had swelled further, with an estimated 120 million people around the world living in displacement.

The number is up from 110 million a year ago, and has been rising for 12 consecutive years—nearly tripling since 2012 amid a combination of new and mutating crises and a failure to resolve long-standing ones, UNHCR said.

Grandi told AFP he had been shocked at the high displacement figure when he took the job eight years ago.

Since then it has “more than doubled”, he said, describing this as “a terrible indictment on the state of the world”.

Grandi pointed to a palpable increase in crises, and also highlighted how climate change is impacting population movement and driving conflicts.

UNHCR last year declared 43 emergencies across 29 countries—more than four times what was common just a few years ago, he told reporters.

In particular, Grandi noted “the way conflicts are conducted ... in complete disregard” of international law, and “often with the specific purpose of terrorising people”.

“This of course is a powerful contributor to more displacement.”

Grandi acknowledged there currently seemed to be little hope of bucking the trend.

“Unless there is a shift in international geopolitics, unfortunately, I actually see the figure continuing to go up,” he said.

Of the 117.3 million displaced at the end of 2023, 68.3 million people were internally displaced within their own country, Thursday’s report showed.

The number of refugees and others in need of international protection meanwhile climbed to 43.4 million, it said.

UNHCR countered the perception that all refugees and other migrants go to wealthy countries.

“The vast majority of refugees are hosted in countries neighbouring their own, with 75 percent residing in low- and middle-income countries that together produce less than 20 percent of the world’s income,” it said.

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