Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, persecutions and abuses has reached a record 82.4 million, two more than ten years ago, according to the UN.
According to the annual report of theUN Refugee Agency published on Friday, the number of refugees, internally displaced people and asylum seekers rose 4% in 2020 from the already record figure of 79.5 million at the end of 2019.
2020 thus represents the ninth year of a continuous increase in forced displacement around the world.
During the pandemic, “everything stopped, including the economy, but wars, conflicts, violence, discrimination and persecution – all these factors that push people to flee – have continued,” said to AFP the head of the United Nations Refugee Agency, Filippo Grandi.
30.3 million displaced by the end of 2020
Today, 1% of humanity is displaced and there are twice as many “uprooted people” than ten years ago when the total number reached around 40 million, UNHCR worries.
At the end of 2020, there were 30.3 million refugees and other forcibly displaced people in the world, including 5.7 million Palestinian refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans. And asylum seekers made up 4.1 million people.
But “the big leap concerns the number of internally displaced persons”, which now stands at 48 million, “an unprecedented number”, underlined Filippo Grandi, during the presentation of the report.
? 82.4 million people are now uprooted across the world.
????? This is not just a statistic. Behind each number, there is a face. A story.
?? Find out more in our Global Trends Report.https://t.co/DXFYNNGZyb
– UNHCR France (@UNHCRfrance) June 18, 2021
Mainly caused by the crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia, the number of internally displaced people increased by more than 2.3 million last year.
Despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, conflicts have continued to scare people away.
The report also notes that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, more than 160 countries had closed their borders and 99 of them had made no exceptions for those seeking protection.
Through the adoption of measures such as medical examinations at the border, health certificates or a temporary quarantine on arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviews, more and more countries have subsequently found the means to guarantee access to asylum procedures despite the pandemic.
Last year, more than two-thirds of all those who fled abroad came from just five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Venezuela (4 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan. South (2.2 million) and Burma (1.1 million).
Young people, girls and boys, under the age of 18 represent 42% of all uprooted people. And according to UNHCR estimates, nearly one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020.
“The tragedy of so many children born in exile should be reason enough to do much more to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Filippo Grandi.
During 2020, some 3.2 million internally displaced persons and only 251,000 refugees returned to their homes, a decrease of 40% and 21% respectively, compared to 2019.
The resettlement of refugees has also fallen drastically. Only 34,400 refugees were resettled last year, the lowest level in 20 years, resulting from limited resettlement places and the covid-19 pandemic, according to UNHCR.
“Solutions require leaders around the world and influential people to put aside their differences, end a selfish approach to politics and instead focus on conflict prevention and resolution, as well as respect. human rights, ”said Filippo Grandi.
For the seventh year in a row, Turkey hosted the world’s largest refugee population (3.7 million), followed by Colombia (1.7 million), Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1 , 4 million) and Germany (1.2 million).
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