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Worldwide displacement tops 70 million, UN Refugee Chief urges greater…

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Write SHPP Date19-06-28 11:03 Hit358

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The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years.

 

Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released today, shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.

 

Within the 70.8 million figure in the Global Trends report are three main groups. The first is refugees, meaning people forced to flee their country because of conflict, war or persecution. In 2018, the number of refugees reached 25.9 million worldwide, 500,000 more than in 2017. Included in this total are 5.5 million Palestine refugees who are under the care of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

 

The second group is asylum seekers – people outside their country of origin and receiving international protection, but awaiting the outcome of their claim to refugee status. At the end of 2018 there were 3.5 million asylum seekers globally.

 

The third and biggest group, at 41.3 million, is people displaced to other areas within their own country, a category commonly referred to as Internally Displaced People or IDPs.

 

The 25.9 million refugees (not displaced people) mainly came from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, with about half being under the age of 18.

 

The Syrian refugees totaled 6.7 million, followed by Afghanistan with 2.7 million, South Sudan with 2.3 million, Myanmar with 1.1 million, and Somalia with 900,000. 

 

For the fifth consecutive year, Turkey hosted the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 3.7 million people. Pakistan came next in 1.4 million, Uganda with 1.2 million, Sudan with 1.1 million, and Germany also with 1.1 million. In Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population, where 1 in 6 people was a refugee. 

 

The number of asylum-seekers wanting to avoid political oppression or religious and ethnic pressure reached 3.5 million. Venezuela was the single country with the largest number of refugees. About 350,000 people have sought asylum amid political instability and economic collapse. 

 

United States hosted the most asylum seekers. Last year, it hosted 254,200 asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela. The figure is 23 percent lower than the 331,700 recorded in 2017. After the United States, Peru was next with 192,500 million people, and Germany after with 161,900 people. 

 

Overall growth in displacement continued to exceed the rate at which solutions are being found for people who become displaced. With refugees, the best solution is being able to return home voluntarily, in safety and dignity. Other solutions include being integrated into the host community or being resettled to a third country. However, only 92,400 refugees were resettled in 2018, less than 7 per cent of those awaiting resettlement. Some 593,800 refugees were able to return home, while 62,600 became naturalized.

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