UN says displaced people in the world exceed 84 million

BERLIN (AP) – The number of people around the world who have been forced to leave their homes almost certainly rose to more than 84 million in the first half of the year, an increase caused in particular by conflict in Africa, the UN refugee agency.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the number of displaced people – most of them within their own countries – was 82.4 million at the end of 2020.

“The international community is failing to prevent the violence, persecution and human rights violations that continue to drive people from their homes,” the agency’s head, Filippo Grandi, said in a statement. “Furthermore, the effects of climate change are exacerbating existing vulnerability in many areas where the displaced are.”

A UNHCR report concludes that the number of people classified as refugees under his mandate was more than 20.8 million in the middle of the year: an increase of 172,000 over the end of the previous year. The number of asylum seekers was 4.4 million, an increase of 237,000.

“Although comparable figures for internal displacement are not yet available, based on the information that we have at UNHCR, it is estimated that global forced displacement almost certainly exceeded 84 million by mid-2021,” he said. About 1.1 million people returned to their areas or countries of origin in the first half of the year.

The agency reported that more than 4.3 million new internally displaced persons were registered between January and June in 33 countries where it is monitoring the situation.

He said that is a sharp increase from a year earlier and that escalating violence led to “significant” displacement in Congo, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Myanmar, South Sudan and countries in the Sahel region of West Africa.

UNHCR noted that its figures came from governments and its own offices around the world and were supplemented with data from non-governmental organizations.


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