A whooping 71 million people have been displaced worldwide from war, persecution and other forms of violence, says the UN refugee agency. It said that this is an ‘increase of two million’ from last year.
Experts say the figures released by the agency is bound to add fuel to a debate at the intersection of international law, human rights and domestic politics, especially the movement in the United States againts immigrants and refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said its damaging to depict migrants and refugees as threats to jobs and security in host countries. Grandi said that the refugees themselves are often fleeing insecurity and danger. “The global trends, once again unfortunately go in what I would say is teh wrong direction. There are new conflicts, new situations, producing refugees, adding themselves to the old ones, and the old ones never get resolved.”
The latest report puts a statistical skeleton onto often poignant individual stories of people struggling to survive by crossing rivers, deserts, seas, fences and other barriers, natural and man-made to escape government oppression, gang killings, sexual abuse, militia murders and other such forms of violence.
“70.8 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of last year, up from about 68.5 million in 2017, and nearly a 65% increase from a decade ago. Among them, nearly three in five people or more than 41 million are displaced within their home countries,” said the UNHCR report.
Despite, US’s tough stance against migrants and refugees, Grandi said the United States remains the ‘largest supporter of refugees’. But he also noted long-term administrative shortcomings that have given the US the world’s biggest backlog of asylum claims, at about 719,000.
The report revealed that currently, most refugees are being taken in by the developing countries and not ‘wealthy countries’.