EYEAFRICA TV: New York, USA: United Nations refugee agency’s (UNHCR) annual Global Trends report, released on Tuesday has indicated that wars and other violence and persecution are the main forces that drove worldwide forced displacement to a new high in 2017 for the fifth year in a row.
The report showed that 68.5 million people were displaced as of the end of 2017. Overwhelmingly it is developing countries that are most affected.
Refugees who have fled their countries to escape conflict and persecution accounted for 25.4 million of the 68.5 million. “This is 2.9 million more than in 2016, also the biggest increase UNHCR has seen in a single year. Asylum-seekers, who were still awaiting the outcome of their claims to refugee status as of 31 December 2017, meanwhile rose by around 300,000 to 3.1 million,” the report says.
It stated that peole displaced inside their country accounted for 40 million of the total, slightly fewer than the 40.3 million in 2016 and in short, the world had almost as many forcibly displaced people in 2017 as the population of Thailand.
The UN refugee boss Filippo Grandi said the increase in numbers is due to “protracted conflicts, lack of solutions for those conflicts that continue, continuous pressure on civilians in countries of conflict that push them to leave their homes, and new or aggravating crises as well, like the Rohingya crisis, that of course accounts for quite a big increase in the number of refugees”
Grandi underlined that 85 percent of that 68.5 million refugees is sheltering in poor or middle-income countries, which, according to Grandi should help dispel the perception that the refugee crisis “is a crisis of the rich world. It is not. It continues to be a crisis mostly of the poor world””
UNHCR’s Global Trends report is released worldwide each year ahead of World Refugee Day (20th June) and tracks forced displacement based on data gathered by UNHCR, governments, and other partners. It does not examine the global asylum environment, which UNHCR reports on separately and which continued in 2017 to see incidents of forced returns, politicization and scapegoating of refugees, refugees being jailed or denied possibility to work, and several countries objecting even to use of the word “refugee.”