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Over 100 million displaced worldwide

The United Nations’ new world refugee report paints a bleak picture: more and more people are being forced to flee worldwide, and there is no end in sight to the trend. Add to that climate change and skyrocketing food prices.

(dpa)

Wars, conflicts and crises are exacerbating the refugee crisis worldwide. More than 100 million people are now fleeing for the first time, more than at any time since the Second World War, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in Geneva. In its world refugee report on Thursday, the organization spoke of a “dramatic milestone” that was not least achieved by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the difficult situation in Afghanistan and other countries.

The expulsion from Ukraine is the fastest growing such crisis since UNHCR was founded in 1951. Within weeks, Ukrainians had become the second largest refugee group in the world, after Syrians. So far, 4.9 million people have fled Ukraine and almost seven million from Syria.

The report actually refers to the previous year. Because of the dramatic consequences of the Russian war of aggression, the UNHCR, as an exception, also gave the current number of refugees as of May 2022. But even at the end of 2021, a record number of people had already fled: 89.3 million, eight percent more than a year earlier, the UNHCR reported . It was the 15th consecutive annual increase. Overall, more than twice as many people were fleeing than ten years ago. Around 60 percent of the displaced found refuge within the borders of their own country.

During a press conference at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Monday (June 13), Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, called for more to be done for peace in the world.

Valentin Flauraud / AP / keystone-sda.ch

“What we are seeing in eastern Ukraine is very brutal and very scary,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. But it would be fatal if the focus was only on Ukraine. Huge sums of money were missing to help people in other parts of the world. Among other things, he mentioned tensions in West and East Africa, in the Middle East, the situation of the Rohingya displaced from Myanmar and the situation in South America, where many countries have taken in refugees from Venezuela.

The Ukraine crisis has shown that, with political will, many people can be accepted. Governments should do something about the fact that refugees are portrayed as people who are only taking jobs away from the population.

Germany was the largest host country behind Turkey, Colombia, Uganda and Pakistan, with 1.3 million people admitted. Outside of Syria’s neighboring countries, Germany is the largest host country for Syrians, with 621,000 refugees. Overall, 87 percent of all refugees worldwide have found refuge in low- and middle-income countries.

According to Grandi, the crises are becoming more and more complicated. Conflicts would be fueled by growing inequality. Bad governance prevents development in many places. Climate change is intensifying the struggle for resources, for example in the Sahel zone in Africa, which is fueling smoldering ethnic conflicts.

Soaring food prices are likely to drive even more people to flee, he said. More and more other migrants are already on the move with the refugees who are threatened in their homeland and are in need of protection under international humanitarian law. Lack of prospects and desperation because they can no longer support their families, many went in search of a better life.

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