• Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023
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UNHCR report: Prospect of displaced people’s return fading away

  • Published at 09:04 am June 18th, 2020
A child cries as a boat with 54 Afghan refugees lands ashore the Greek island of Lesbos on February 28, 2020 AFP

Bangladesh sheltering over a million Rohingyas from Myanmar is a victim of the problem

* 1% of entire humanity now displaced

* At least 100 million people were forced to flee their homes in the past decade

* Forced displacement almost doubled since 2010 from 41 million to 79.5 million

*UNHCR appeals to countries to do more to find homes for refugees

The prospect of return of displaced people to their homes is fading away in the ongoing decade as compared with the previous one, according to a report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva on Thursday.

“In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. Over the past decade that number has fallen to around 385,000, meaning that growth in displacement is today far outstripping solutions,” says UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which comes two days ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.   

“An unprecedented 79.5 million were displaced as of the end of 2019. UNHCR has not seen a higher total,” it adds.

Bangladesh, which is sheltering over a million of displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar, is a victim of this ever-growing problem.

About 900,000 Rohingyas have fled from their homes due to unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people belonging to different ethnic groups in Rakhine. Aside from them, hundreds of thousands have been living in Bangladesh for decades.

There is no prospect of these persecuted people to return home anytime soon due to the unwillingness of Myanmar.   

The UNHCR report shows that forced displacement is now affecting more than one percent of humanity – 1 in every 97 people – and with fewer and fewer of those who flee being able to return home.

The UN refugee agency appeals to countries worldwide to do far more to find homes for millions of refugees and others displaced by conflict, persecution or events seriously disturbing public order.

“We are witnessing a changed reality in that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“People cannot be expected to live in a state of upheaval for years on end, without a chance of going home, nor a hope of building a future where they are. We need a fundamentally new and more accepting attitude towards all who flee, coupled with a much more determined drive to unlock conflicts that go on for years and that are at the root of such immense suffering,” he says.

The Global Trends Report shows that of the 79.5 million who were displaced at the end of last year, 45.7 million were people who had fled to other areas of their own countries. The rest were people displaced elsewhere, 4.2 million of them being people awaiting the outcome of asylum requests, while 29.6 million were refugees and others forcibly displaced outside their country. At the end of 2018, the number of displaced people stood at 70.8 million.

At least 100 million people were forced to flee their homes in the past decade, seeking refugee either in or outside their countries. That’s more people fleeing than the entire population of Egypt, the world’s 14th most populous country.

Forced displacement has almost doubled since 2010 (41 million then vs 79.5 million now). 80 percent of the world’s displaced people are in countries or territories affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition – many of them countries facing climate and other disaster risk.

More than three-quarters of the world’s refugees (77 per cent) are caught up in situations of long-term displacement.

The UNHCR’s Global Trends report is released in parallel with its annual Global Report, which reports on actions UNHCR is taking to address the needs of all who are forced to flee, as well as the world’s known stateless populations.

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