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Record 110 million people now forcibly displaced globally: UN

A record 110 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes, the United Nations has said, calling the huge upsurge an “indictment” of the world.

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, refugees fleeing Afghanistan and the fighting in Sudan have pushed the total number of refugees forced to seek shelter abroad, and those displaced within their own countries, to an unprecedented level, said the UN refugee agency on Wednesday.

At the end of last year, 108.4 million people were displaced, UNHCR said in its flagship annual report, Global Trends in Forced Displacement.

The number was up 19.1 million from the end of 2021 – the biggest-ever increase since the records began back in 1975.

Since then, the eruption of the conflict in Sudan has triggered further displacement, pushing the global total to an estimated 110 million by May.

“We have 110 million people that have fled because of conflict, persecution, discrimination and violence, often mixed with other motives — in particular the impact of climate change,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi told a press conference in Geneva.

“It’s quite an indictment on the state of our world,” he said .

 

Numbers likely to increase

 

Of the 2022 global total, 35.3 million were refugees who fled abroad, with 62.5 million being internally displaced.

There were 5.4 million asylum-seekers and a further 5.2 million other people – predominantly from Venezuela – needing international protection.

“My fear is that the figure is likely to increase more,” said Grandi.

He said the swelling displacement this year was being increasingly met with “a more hostile environment, especially when it comes to refugees, almost everywhere”.

“Leader ship is about convincing your public opinion that there are people that deserve international protection,” he said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees noted that around 76 percent of refugees fled to low- and middle-income countries, while 70 percent stayed in neighbouring countries.

 

Grandi also said Britain’s plans to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda for adjudication was “not a good idea”.

He said the US case was more complex, but added: “We are worried… about denial of access to asylum in the United States”.

Grandi pleaded for urgent global action to alleviate the causes and impact of displacement, saying UNHCR was “not in a good financial situation this year”.

UNHCR’s internal Sudan crisis appeal is only 16 percent funded, and the appeal for the refugee-hosting countries is 13 percent funded.

There were 6.5 million Syrian refugees at the end of 2022, of which 3.5 million are in neighbouring Türkiye.

There were 5.7 million Ukrainian refugees, with the February 2022 Russian offensive triggering the fastest outflow of refugees since World War II.

The countries hosting the most refugees are Türkiye (3.6 million), Iran (3.4 million), Colombia (2.5 million), Germany (2.1 million) and Pakistan (1.7 million).

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