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UN refugee agency says number of forcibly displaced people reaches record high

Syrian children stand on a hill above a refugee camp in Lebanon
Syrian children stand on a hill above a refugee camp in Lebanon Copyright Bilal Hussein/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Bilal Hussein/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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In its Global Trends in Forced Displacement report, the UN refugee agency says about 19 million people were forced to flee in 2022, an increase of 21 per cent.

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The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) says the number of people displaced by war, persecution, violence, and human rights abuses has reached a record high.

In its annual Forced Displacement report published on Wednesday, it said about 19 million people were forced to flee in 2022, an increase of 21 per cent, lifting the total to 108.4 million by the end of last year.

This includes refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people, and others in need of international protection.

The UNHCR said that for the 20 years before the Syrian conflict in 2011, the global level was roughly stable at about 40 million refugees and internally displaced people.

But this number has risen every year since then and has more than doubled with 1 in every 74 people now displaced.

In 2022, the war in Ukraine was the top driver of displacement with the number of refugees from that country soaring from 27,300 at the end of 2021 to 5.7 million at the end of 2022 – the fastest outflow of refugees anywhere since World War II.

The UNHCR says over half of those seeking safety come from just three countries, Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Forty per cent of all forcibly displaced people are children.

The report shows that it is middle- and lower-income countries that are bearing the brunt, hosting 76 per cent of the world’s refugees and other people in need of international protection.

And the refugee agency says that the upward trend in global forced displacement is not slowing down, with new and ongoing conflicts continuing to force people to flee their homes in 2023.

In Sudan, as of the end of May this year, over 1 million people had been newly displaced internally and close to 400,000 had fled to neighbouring countries

The UNHCR is urging governments and NGOs to find new solutions to the growing problem and to ensure those who have been forced to flee are not condemned to permanent exile. 

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