Int’l community’s inability to solve conflicts or prevent new ones is driving displacement, misery, says high commissioner for refugees
October 25, 2023: The UN refugee agency announced on Wednesday the estimated number of displaced people worldwide, driven by war and violence, hit 114 million by the end of September, reports Anadolu Agency.
“The main drivers of forced displacement in the first half of 2023 were: war in Ukraine and conflicts in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Myanmar; a combination of drought, floods, and insecurity in Somalia; and a prolonged humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” the UNHCR said in a statement, citing its mid-year trends report.
Noting that the world’s focus is now on the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said: “But globally, far too many conflicts are proliferating or escalating, shattering innocent lives and uprooting people.”
“The international community’s inability to solve conflicts or prevent new ones is driving displacement and misery,” Grandi stressed, underlining the need to work together to end conflicts and allow refugees and other displaced people to return home or restart their lives.
According to the UNHCR, 110 million people had been forcibly displaced worldwide by the end of June – an increase of 1.6 million from the end of 2022.
The report found that over half of all people who are forced to flee “never cross” an international border. Only in the three months from June to the end of September, UNHCR estimated that the number of forcibly displaced grew by 4 million, bringing the total to 114 million.
“As we watch events unfold in Gaza, Sudan, and beyond, the prospect of peace and solutions for refugees and other displaced populations might feel distant,” Grandi said. “But we cannot give up. With our partners, we will keep pushing for – and finding – solutions for refugees.”
Of the refugees and other persons in need of international protection, 75% were hosted by low- and middle-income countries, the report said. In the initial six months, 1.6 million individual asylum applications were filed globally, the highest ever recorded.
While not all were in safe circumstances, over 404,000 refugees returned, more than twice as many as in the same period in 2022.
Almost 2.7 million internally displaced individuals returned to their homes during the same period, exceeding twice the number of returns in the first half of 2022, it said. There was also an increase in the number of resettled refugees.
The conflict in the Middle East started on October 7, which falls outside the reporting period and is not factored into its analysis of human displacement, the statement underscored.