GENEVA – The number of forcibly displaced people globally surged to 103 million in the first half of 2022, the biggest six-month increase recorded in data, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency said today.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine largely drove the 15 per cent increase, with numbers expected to rise through the remainder of the year, according to UNHCR’s ‘2022 Mid-Year Trends’ report. It shows that one in every 77 people on earth is forcibly displaced.
“This data represents a horrific reality. The lives of 103 million individuals across the world have been torn apart by the trauma, torment or threat of conflict, persecution, insecurity or human rights violations,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “The numbers should be a rallying call for peace. Unless we see much stronger political effort to resolve conflicts and prevent displacement, people will be unable to return home and the numbers of those uprooted will keep setting new records”.
While UNHCR confirmed this year that the world’s forcibly displaced population was estimated at over 100 million, the new report provides up-to-date and comprehensive statistics from 1 January to 30 June, 2022.
The 13.6 million increase in forced displacement accounts for refugees, asylum seekers or those otherwise in need of international protection, as well as the internally displaced. Globally, refugees under UNHCR’s mandate and other people in need of international protection increased by 6.3 million, or some 24 per cent, over the six-month period, mainly due to growing numbers of forcibly displaced Ukrainians, Afghans and Venezuelans. This is the biggest proportional increase in the overall refugee population between 1979-1980.
Some 9.6 million new internal displacements were recorded in the first half. At least 7 million were in Ukraine. New internal displacements were also reported in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The report offers hope with some positive trends. Durable solutions – returns, naturalizations and resettlement – all increased in the first six months, compared to the previous year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Over half of all returns were the 86,700 to South Sudan.
“Ultimately, refugees need a safe place to rebuild in security. It’s heartening that more people have been able to return, naturalize or resettle, but the sheer scale of displacement, and the protracted or recurring nature of conflicts and insecurity means these options are only open to a lucky few,” Grandi said.
The report highlights the need for more responsibility-sharing in the global refugee response; 74 per cent of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries. There was a 9 per cent increase in refugees hosted in high-income countries primarily due to the arrivals and reception of Ukrainian refugees, mainly in European countries.
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