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UNHCR: World Now Has Nearly 80 Million Refugees

UNHCR: World Now Has Nearly 80 Million Refugees

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, yesterday urged countries globally to act far more to find places for millions of refugees and others dislodged by conflict, oppression, or events severely disrupting public peace.

This is as a report published yesterday revealed that forced displacement is now affecting more than one percent of humanity – 1 in every 97 people – and with less and less of those who leave being able to return home.

UNHCR’s yearly Global Trends report, which issues two days before 20 June World Refugee Day, reveals that an unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced as of the end of 2019. UNHCR has not observed an enormous sum.

The report notes diminishing prospects for refugees when it comes to hopes of any quick end to their plight. In the 1990s, on average, 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. Over the past decade, that number has fallen to around 385,000, meaning that growth in displacement is today far outstripping solutions.

UNHCR: World Now Has Nearly 80 Million Refugees
A refugee camp is seen on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, near Atma, April 19, 2020. Image Source: AP

UNHCR’s Global Trends report reveals that of the 79.5 million displaced at the end of last year, 45.7 million people had left to other regions of their own lands. The rest were people displaced elsewhere, with 4.2 million people awaiting asylum requests, while 29.6 million were refugees et al. forcibly displaced outside their country.

The annual increase, from a figure of 70.8 million at the top of 2018, maybe a result of two main factors. First is worrying new displacement in 2019, especially within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel, Yemen and Syria – which now in its tenth year of fight and accounting on its own for 13.2 million refugees, asylum seekers, and inwardly displaced people, completely a sixth of the world’s total.

Second, perhaps a better presentation of Venezuelans’ things outside their nation, many of whom aren’t lawfully listed as refugees or asylum-seekers, except for whom protection-sensitive forms are needed.

And within all of those numbers may be a multitude of personal and personal crises. As many children (estimated at 30-34 million, tens of thousands of them deserted) are amongst the displaced than, for example, the entire populations of Australia, Denmark and Mongolia combined. Meantime, the proportion of displaced aged 60 and over (4 percent) is way under that of the population (12 percent) – a statistic that speaks to immeasurable heartbreak, desperation, sacrifice, and being torn aside from loved ones.

UNHCR: World Now Has Nearly 80 Million Refugees
Year-end figures of displacement over the last decade. Graphic Source: Al Jazeera

The figure has mounted over the past decade, about doubling from 41 million in 2010.

Turkey hosted the most significant number of refugees, 3.9 million people, mostly from Syria, where a civil war has entered its tenth year.

Colombia is second with 1.8 million, involving Venezuelans displaced abroad.

Pakistan and Uganda hosted the 3rd and 4th most significant numbers.

Germany hosted the 5th most significant number, almost 1.5 million, with Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers constituting the largest groups (42%).

Information within the Global Trends report doesn’t include the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on asylum. But High Commissioner Grandi notes 164 countries have totally or partially closed their borders because of the epidemic. He states that this has put a curb on people’s capacity to cross frontiers in hunt of foreign security.

UNHCR: World Now Has Nearly 80 Million Refugees
Congolese families, who fled from Democratic Republic of, prepare meals at United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Kyangwali refugee settlement camp, Uganda, Mar. 19, 2018. Image Source: Reuters

The UN states the coronavirus pandemic has knocked the refugee community and internally displaced people the most robust due to the health hazards, loss of earnings, and higher vulnerability to gender-based violence.

According to a new study by the Jewish global refugee bureau, HIAS, quite 70 percent of these displaced people cannot meet their fundamental requirements for food, contrasted with about 15 percent before the virus outbreak. More than 75 percent are not any longer ready to access health services.

The border closures and travel restrictions prevent the spread of the virus and cause delays in the asylum-seeking process, HIAS said.

Tags : Global Trends Report 2019-20UNUN Refugee AgencyUNHCRWorld Refugee Day

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