Last month, the UN observed World Refugee Day against the backdrop of a new grim milestone: The number of people who have been forced from their homes by war, persecution, violence and human rights abuses now sits at over 100 million. This number is just one of many saddening figures from the UN refugee agency’s Global Trends report, published recently. The report shows that five countries — Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar — account for more than two-thirds of displaced persons globally. People forced to move inside their own countries — known as internally displaced people (IDPs) — constitute the majority of the forcibly displaced population. Syria and Yemen, as well as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Republic of the Congo and Colombia, continue to host the world’s largest IDP populations.
If current conflicts remain unresolved and the eruption of new ones is not prevented, the UN report warns that the 21st century will be defined by growing numbers of people forced to flee and the increasingly limited options available to them.
Population movements around the world have become so complex in nature that aid agencies are scrambling to find new ways to deal with the continuous, massive exodus. People are fleeing not only violence, but also economic inequality as the global wealth gap continues to widen. Changes in weather patterns and resulting droughts, floods and natural disasters have displaced more still. The food security crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine has now threatened a new wave. – Agencies