Russia’s war in Ukraine has pushed the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide to more than 100 million for the first time, the United Nations announced on Monday.
“The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights abuses and persecution has passed the staggering 100 million mark for the first time, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts said UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. .
The “alarming” figure is set to shake the world to an end to conflict, forcing record numbers of people to flee their own homes, UNHCR said in a statement.
UNHCR said the number of forcibly displaced people had reached 90 million by the end of 2021, spurred by violence in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and since then more than eight million people have been internally displaced, while more than six million refugees have crossed borders.
‘Awakening’“One hundred million is a striking, sobering and alarming number. It’s a record that should never have been set,” said UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi.
“This should serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflict, end the persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes.”
The figure of 100 million represents more than one percent of the world’s population, while only 13 countries have a population larger than the number of forcibly displaced people in the world.
The figures include refugees, asylum seekers, as well as more than 50 million internally displaced people.
“The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive,” Grandi said.
“Compassion is alive and we need a similar mobilization for all crises around the world. But at the end of the day, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure.
“To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that innocent people are not forced to play between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile.”
UNHCR will present full data on forced displacement in 2021 in its annual Global Trends Report, due out on June 16.
“Never been so bad”More than two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 20 countries are still denying access to asylum to people fleeing conflict, violence and persecution based on virus crackdowns.
Grandi on Friday called on those countries to lift all remaining pandemic-related asylum restrictions, saying they violate a basic human right.
“I fear that measures adopted under the guise of responding to Covid-19 will be used as a cover to exclude and deny asylum to people fleeing violence and persecution,” he said.
A joint report released last week by the Internal Displacement Monitor (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said that around 38 million new internal displacements were reported in 2021. Some of them were of people being forced to flee several times throughout the year.
The figure marks the second highest annual number of new internal displacements in a decade after 2020, which saw a record movement due to a series of natural disasters.
Last year, new internal displacement, specifically due to conflict, reached 14.4 million – marking a 50% jump from 2020, according to the report.
“It’s never been as bad as this,” NRC chief Jan Egeland told reporters.
“The world is collapsing.”
Natural disasters continued to account for most new internal displacements, causing 23.7 million such movements in 2021.