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Record 120 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, UN says

By RFI
Europe Record 120 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, UN says
THU, 13 JUN 2024 LISTEN

The displacement of people around the world has once again smashed records, the United Nations refugee agency warned, reporting that 120 million people have been forced from their homes by war, violence and persecution.

At the end of last year, 117.3 million people were displaced, UNHCR said in a report published Thursday. Those numbers continued to rise in the first months of 2024, reaching at least 120 million by the end of April.

This is up from 110 million displaced people a year ago, and has been rising for 12 consecutive years – nearly tripling since 2012.

"Conflict remains a very, very deep driver of displacement,” Filippo Grandi, the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters, highlighting the impact on climate change on the movement of people.

The UNHCR last year declared 43 emergencies across 29 countries in places including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gaza and Myanmar.

Sudan's civil war has been a key factor driving up the numbers, with nearly 11 million people displaced at the end of 2023. Of those nine million are internally displaced and another two million who have fled to neighbouring Chad, Egypt and South Sudan.

Syria remains the world's largest displacement crisis, with 13.8 million people forcibly displaced inside and outside the country, UNHCR said.

Grandi said there seemed to be little hope of the numbers of displaced people going down.

"Unless there is a shift in international geopolitics, unfortunately, I actually see that figure continuing to go up," he said.

The report showed that more than half of people displaced at the end of 2023 were in their own country, even as the number of refugees and others in need of international protection climbed to 43.4 million.

It also countered the perception that all refugees and other migrants go to wealthy countries.

“The vast majority of refugees are hosted in countries neighbouring their own, with 75 percent residing in low- and middle-income countries that together produce less than 20 percent of the world's income,” it said.

(with newswires)

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