Forced displacement is now affecting more than 1% of humanity, or one in every 97 people, a latest report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) revealed on Thursday.
The report came as the agency is appealing to countries worldwide to do far more to find homes for millions of refugees and others displaced by conflict, persecution or events seriously disturbing public order.
The annual Global Trends report, published for the World Refugee Day marked yearly on June 20, showed that an unprecedented 79.5 million people were displaced as of the end of 2019, with 45.7 million among them people who had fled to other areas of their own countries.
The rest were people displaced elsewhere, 4.2 million of whom being people awaiting the outcome of asylum requests, while 29.6 million were refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country.
Last year, the UN agency reported a total of 70.8 million displaced people at the end of 2018.
According to the report, an estimated 30 to 34 million children are among the displaced, while at least 100 million people were forced to flee their homes in the past decade, with forced displacement almost doubling since 2010.
More than three quarters of the world’s refugees are caught up in situations of long-term displacement, such as in Afghanistan, now in its fifth decade, the report said.
“We are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
“We need a fundamentally new and more accepting attitude towards all who flee, coupled with a much more determined drive to unlock conflicts that go on for years and that are at the root of such immense suffering.”
Among other statistics compiled on the report are:
100 million people at least were forced to flee their homes in the past decade, seeking refugee either in or outside their countries. That’s more people fleeing than the entire population of Egypt, the world’s 14th most populous country.
Forced displacement has almost doubled since 2010 (41 million then vs. 79.5 million now).
80% of the world’s displaced people are in countries or territories affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition – many of them countries facing climate and other disaster risk.
More than three-quarters of the world’s refugees (77%) are caught up in situations of long-term displacement – for example the situation in Afghanistan, now in its fifth decade.
More than eight of every 10 refugees (85%) are in developing countries, generally a country neighbouring the one they fled.
Five countries account for two-thirds of people displaced across borders: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.
Global Trends Report counts all major displaced and refugee populations, including the 5.6 million Palestine refugees who fall under the care of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine.
The 2030 Sustainable Development commitment of “leaving no one behind” now explicitly includes refugees, thanks to a new indicator on refugees approved by the UN Statistical Commission in March this year. (Source: UNHCR)