100 million refugees worldwide: the sad record recorded by the UNHCR Global Trends report

Wars, climate, famines have brought the number of refugees to an all-time high (at least since the data began to be recorded). To sound the alarm is UNHCR with his report on “Global Trends” released this morning, their annual statistical report. In fact, over 100 million people are now forced to leave their homes: the surge was naturally imposed by the war in Ukraine which forced, according to data updated to June 14, 7,567,024 people to cross the borders of their country in a few months. Of these, they would actually have already returned to 2,479,398. But the Ukrainian diaspora still numbers over 5 million people.

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Not just Ukraine

The war in Europe, however, is only the latest dramatic piece of a trend that has only worsened for 10 years. On the other hand, at the end of 2021, there were already 89.3 million people on the run. An increase of as much as 8 percent compared to the previous year and well over double the figures recorded 10 years ago. To dictate the emergency agenda, in fact, there is not only the war in Ukraine (which also caused one of the largest forced exodus since the Second World War) but also important crises that mark other parts of the world: from Africa to Afghanistan. In 2021, the world, already shaken by the pandemic, saw a dramatic flare-up of conflicts. There are 23 countries where so-called “medium” or “high” intensity wars are fought: 850 million people involved.

To aggravate the situation, as we said at the beginning, famines and climatic emergencies contribute which among other things also severely slow down humanitarian responses. Also because it is often countries whose resources are already precarious that welcome rivers of desperate people. Suffice it to say that the number of arrivals has increased in Uganda, Chad, Sudan, or nations that are already on the brink (overall, 27 per cent of refugees are in countries that are themselves fragile). “If the international community does not face this human tragedy in a united way, resolving ongoing conflicts and identifying lasting solutions, it will be increasingly difficult to stop this terrible trend” said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

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Some positive data

For heaven’s sake, some positive data, albeit modest, can be glimpsed in the Global Trends report. That is to say, the number of refugees and internally displaced people who returned home in 2021 increased, returning to pre-COVID levels: recording a 71 percent increase in voluntary repatriation cases. Still, the report still reports, about 81,200 stateless persons have acquired a citizenship or have seen it confirmed: the best result in terms of statelessness reduction since 2014.

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