Status: 11/11/2021 1:50 p.m.
Worldwide, 84 million people are fleeing violence and the consequences of climate change. This emerges from a report by the UN refugee agency. UN Commissioner Grandi accuses the international community of failure.
Conflicts, violence and the effects of climate change are driving more and more people to flight. The number of displaced persons worldwide rose from 82.4 to 84 million between the end of 2020 and June 2021, reported the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Almost 51 million people live as internally displaced people, according to the UN. In the first half of 2021, conflicts and violence flared up again around the world. The number rose particularly sharply in Africa. There, 1.3 million people in the Republic of the Congo and 1.2 million in Ethiopia alone had to leave their homes.
UN Commissioner: “International community fails”
The situation was similarly poor in Myanmar, where the military staged a coup in February, and in Afghanistan, where the fighting had intensified before the militant Islamist Taliban came to power in August. The number of those seeking protection abroad also increased.
The report also notes that Corona border restrictions continue to make access to asylum difficult in many locations.
“The international community is failing to prevent violence, persecution and human rights abuses that continue to displace people from their homes,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating the plight in many areas where the displaced are living.”
5.7 million displaced Palestinians
Grandi asked the international community to do more to achieve peace. At the same time, it must provide funds for the displaced and their host countries. Communities and states with the least resources still shoulder the greatest burden in caring for the refugees, Grandi stressed.
To the total of 84 million, the UNHCR also counts 5.7 million Palestinians displaced from their homes for decades and 3.9 million Venezuelans. The latter left Venezuela because of the catastrophic situation there. Most of them live in neighboring countries and work without applying for asylum.
The Geneva Refugee Convention
The Geneva Refugee Convention was passed on July 28, 1951 at the European headquarters of the UN in Geneva and came into force on April 22, 1954. The convention initially only applied to people who had fled by 1951. A 1967 protocol lifted the time limit.
According to the Convention, people are considered refugees who had to leave their country of origin because they were persecuted because of their “race, religion, nationality, belonging to a certain social group or because of their political convictions”.
The agreement guarantees, among other things, protection against discrimination in the host country. Refugees can go to court and have the same religious rights as the country’s residents. You are also entitled to a refugee ID and may not be sent back to your country of origin.
However, many refugees cannot enforce their rights due to lack of money, the foreign language and bureaucratic hurdles in the host country. The convention also does not apply to so-called internally displaced persons who are on the run in their own country. Because according to international law, governments have a duty to look after the well-being of their citizens themselves.
The Global Compact for Refugees, which the UN adopted in 2018, must be distinguished from the Geneva Convention. This is not legally binding, but a political commitment to strengthen international cooperation in dealing with the refugee crisis.
More than 82 million people are currently on the run. There are internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers.