The figure reaches nearly 82.4 million people
The number of people fleeing war and violence has risen globally by 4% during 2020, reaching nearly 82.4 million, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report published in Geneva on Friday.
“Despite the [coronavirus] pandemic, the number of people fleeing war, violence, persecution and human rights violations rose to nearly 82.4 million in 2020”, – the experts said, stressing that at the end of 2019, the number stood at 79.5 million, with a total increase of 4 percent in 12 months. Among those in need of protection, 48 million are internally displaced people. There were 2.3 million more during the year, primarily due to the crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, the Sahel states, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia.
“Behind every figure are people forced from their homes”, – said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, stressing that they deserve attention, support and “finding solutions”. – He said “much greater political will” was needed to resolve the conflicts.
Among those forced out of their homes, 42 per cent are minors, the report said, and they are “particularly vulnerable”. The UNHCR estimates that nearly 1 million children were “born refugees” between 2018 and 2020. Experts draw attention to the fact that at the height of the pandemic in 2020, 160 countries closed their borders while 99 states made no exceptions in this regime to allow foreigners in need of protection into their territory. During 2020, 3.2 million internally displaced persons and 251,000 refugees returned to their homes. A further 33,800 refugees were granted citizenship by the countries in which they had previously taken refuge.
Grandi called on “world leaders and those with influence to put aside their differences and put an end to selfish approaches to politics”. In his view, we should “focus on preventing and resolving conflicts and ensuring respect for human rights.