MIL OSI Translation. Region: France and French Territories –
Source: United Nations – in French 2
Headline: Number of displaced worldwide hits new high in 2021 – UNHCR
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and its travel restrictions, nearly 90 million displaced people around the world in 2021. A record, according to the annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), unveiled on Thursday .
Despite some encouraging signs, the pace and scale of forced displacement around the world still outweighs the measures implemented to resolve refugee crises, UNHCR said, noting that the number of uprooted people had increased by 8% compared to the previous year. This is more than double the figure of ten years ago, according to the annual report of the UN agency published on Thursday.
In general, forced displacement is notably caused by violence, conflict and persecution. “Every year over the past decade, the numbers have steadily increased,” admitted UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
The past year has been marked by the multiplication of conflicts, which have intensified, and by the emergence of new conflicts. According to the World Bank, 23 countries – representing a total population of 850 million people – have been the scene of conflicts of medium or high intensity.
More than 80% of refugees hosted by developing countries
Since then, the Russian invasion of Ukraine – which has caused the fastest and one of the largest forced displacement crisis since World War II – and other emergencies, ranging from Africa to Afghanistan and beyond, pushed that figure above the symbolic 100 million mark.
The number of asylum seekers worldwide reached 4.6 million, an increase of 11%. In 2021, 7 million more people were forced into migration compared to the previous year.
At the same time, the total number of refugees increased in 2021 to 27.1 million. Among the countries where this number has particularly increased are Uganda, Chad and Sudan.
In total, more than two-thirds (69%) of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria (6.8 million), Venezuela (4.6 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million) , South Sudan (2.4 million) and Myanmar (1.2 million).
Most of the refugees were, as is often the case, hosted by neighboring countries with few resources. More than 80% were hosted by low- and middle-income countries. According to UNHCR, 27% have found refuge in least developed countries.
The crisis in the Sahel leads to new displacements in Burkina Faso and Chad
Overall, more than 70% of refugees lived in countries neighboring their country of origin. In addition, Türkiye hosted nearly 3.8 million refugees, the largest population in the world, followed by Uganda (1.5 million), Pakistan (1.5 million) and Germany ( 1.3 million). Colombia has taken in 1.8 million Venezuelans displaced abroad.
Last year, the number of people displaced within their own country by conflict rose for the fifteenth consecutive year, reaching 53.2 million. This increase is explained by the resurgence of violence and clashes in certain regions, notably in Myanmar.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and other regions has caused millions of people to flee while remaining in their own country. This is the case of the tensions in the Sahel, which have also led to new internal displacements, particularly in Burkina Faso and Chad.
At the same time, food shortages, inflation and the climate crisis are accentuating the difficulties of populations, putting humanitarian actors to the test, even as funding forecasts seem bleak in many countries.
A food crisis could increase the number of displaced
In this regard, UNHCR notes that the food security crisis caused by the war in Ukraine will cause more people to flee their homes in poor countries, which will increase the number of displaced people in the world.
“If you have a food crisis on top of everything I’ve described — war, human rights, climate — it will only accelerate the trends I’ve exposed in this report,” he said during a briefing. a press briefing, Filippo Grandi, describing “staggering” figures.
More broadly, UNHCR fears that conflicts will get bogged down in the future and that durable and decent reception solutions will no longer be able to follow. “Either the international community mobilizes to react to this human tragedy, to end the conflicts and achieve lasting solutions, or this dramatic trend will continue,” he warned.
Yet this report also contains some glimmers of hope. The number of refugees and internally displaced people who returned home increased in 2021, returning to levels prior to the Covid-19 crisis.
The number of voluntary repatriations has increased by 71%, although the absolute number remains modest. “We see it in places – such as with regional cooperation for the repatriation of Ivorians – but these important initiatives must be replicated and extended to other countries,” concluded the head of UNHCR.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.