UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, has called for concerted action as forced displacement hits a new global record of 108.4 million in 2022, driven by the war in Ukraine, revised estimates for Afghan refugees, and fighting in Sudan.
UNHCR’s flagship annual report, “Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022,” found out that by the end of 2022, the number of people displaced by war, persecution, violence, and human rights abuses stood at a record 108.4 million, up 19.1 million on a year earlier, which was the biggest ever increase.
The upward trajectory in global forced displacement showed no sign of slowing in 2023 as the eruption of conflict in Sudan triggered new outflows, pushing the global total to an estimated 110 million by May, according to a UNHCR report made available to the Ghana News Agency ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20th.
Of the global total, 35.3 million were refugees—people who crossed an international border to find safety—while a greater share—58 per cent, representing 62.5 million people—were displaced in their home countries due to conflict and violence.
According to the report, the war in Ukraine was the top driver of displacement in 2022. The number of refugees from Ukraine soared from 27,300 at the end of 2021 to 5.7 million at the end of 2022, representing the fastest outflow of refugees anywhere since World War II.
The UNHCR’s flagship annual report also revealed that while the total number of displaced people continued to grow, the Global Trends report also showed that those forced to flee are not condemned to exile; rather, they can and do go home voluntarily and safely.
In 2022, over 339,000 refugees returned to 38 countries, and though this was lower than the previous year, there were significant voluntary returns to South Sudan, Syria, Cameroon, and Côte d’Ivoire.
Meanwhile, 5.7 million internally displaced people returned in 2022, notably within Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the end of 2022, an estimated 4.4 million people worldwide were stateless or of undetermined nationality, 2 percent more than at the end of 2021.
The report also estimated that the number of refugees from Afghanistan was sharply higher by the end of 2022 due to revised estimates of Afghans hosted in Iran, many of whom had arrived in previous years.
Similarly, the report reflected upward revisions by Colombia and Peru of the numbers of Venezuelans, mostly categorized as “other people in need of international protection,” hosted in those countries.
The figures also confirmed that, whether measured by economic means or population ratios, it remains the world’s low- and middle-income countries – not wealthy states, that host the most displaced people.
The 46 least developed countries account for less than 1.3 percent of global gross domestic product, yet they host more than 20 percent of all refugees.
Funding for the numerous displacement situations and to support hosts who lagged needs last year, remaining sluggish in 2023 as requirements increase.
The Global Trends report was launched six months ahead of the second Global Refugee Forum, a major gathering in Geneva bringing together a range of actors to find new solutions for and embed solidarity with people forced to flee and their hosts.
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