UN warns of more than 70 million world wide refugees

UN General Assembly

A grim update from the UN ahead of World Refugee Day, the number of people displaced by war, violence and persecution exceeded 70 million in 2018.

Its report found that on any given day last year, some 37,000 people were forced from their homes.

CGTN’s Liling Tan reports with more on the staggering numbers.

At nearly 71 million people, the global population of persons displaced by war and violence is twice the number from 20 years ago, and larger than the population of Thailand.

“In fact the number now is the largest number ever recorded. And it speaks to the failure in the international political arena to both mitigate and prevent conflict,” said Ninette Kelley the director of the UNHCR in New York.

“One key factor pushing people out of their homes is conflict, is crisis, all of which require political solutions. And those political solutions are difficult because the world has become very divided and unable to make peace,” said Filippo Grandi the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

There were 26 million refugees in 2018, half a million more than the previous year, and largely from the same five countries with protracted conflicts. Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia. But new and re-emerging crises were also behind the spike.

In Ethiopia, a surge in inter communal violence displaced more than 1 million people within the country, while the Venezuela exodus has become one of the world’s biggest displacement crises.

“We tend to think of the one big refugee crisis affecting the rich world. This is the perception that many people have. And it is wrong. The statistics tell us another story – that it is very often, unfortunately, a crisis of the poor. The refugees are poor, and the communities hosting are poor, and they are the ones that are most impacted by the situation,” said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Take Bangladesh for example. It’s one of the least developed countries. It has one of the highest-density populations of any country in the world. It struggles under huge pressures to be able to deliver basic services to its own population, and there it is, providing security to over a million Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar,” Ninette Kelley the director of the UNHCR in New York.

Among the numerous unsettling statistics, children account for half of the global refugee population, with more than 100,000 of them traveling alone last year. And the rate of people able to return home has remained stagnant.