23 May 2022, 10:32

More than 100 million people forcibly displaced: UN

GENEVA, May 23, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Russia's war in Ukraine has pushed the

number of forcibly displaced people around the world above 100 million for
the first time ever, the United Nations said Monday.

"The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights
violations and persecution has now crossed the staggering milestone of 100
million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and
other deadly conflicts," said UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

The "alarming" figure must shake the world into ending the conflicts forcing
record numbers to flee their own homes, the UNHCR said in a statement.

UNHCR said the numbers of forcibly displaced people rose towards 90 million
by the end of 2021, spurred by violence in Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar,
Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and since then, more than eight million
people have been displaced within the country, while more than six million
refugees have fled across the borders.

- 'Wake-up call' -

"One hundred million is a stark figure -- sobering and alarming in equal
measure. It's a record that should never have been set," said UNHCR chief
Filippo Grandi.

"This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive
conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force
innocent people to flee their homes."

The 100 million figure amounts to more than one percent of the global
population, while only 13 countries have a bigger population than the number
of forcibly displaced people in the world.

The figures combine refugees, asylum-seekers, as well as more than 50 million
people displaced inside their own countries.

"The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been
overwhelmingly positive," said Grandi.

"Compassion is alive and we need a similar mobilisation for all crises around
the world. But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure.

"To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that
innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or
precarious flight and exile."

UNHCR will outline the full data on forced displacement in 2021 in its annual
Global Trends Report, due for release on June 16.

- 'Never been as bad' -

More than two years on since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, at least 20
countries still deny access to asylum for people fleeing conflict, violence,
and persecution based on measures to clamp down on the virus.

Grandi called Friday for those countries to lift any remaining pandemic-
related asylum restrictions, saying they contravene a fundamental human

"I am worried that measures enacted on the pretext of responding to Covid-19
are being used as cover to exclude and deny asylum to people fleeing violence
and persecution," he said.

A joint report last week by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
(IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said around 38 million new
internal displacements were reported in 2021. Some of those were by people
forced to flee multiple times during the year.

The figure marks the second-highest annual number of new internal
displacements in a decade after 2020, which saw record-breaking movement due
to a string of natural disasters.

Last year, new internal displacements specifically from conflict surged to
14.4 million -- marking a 50-percent jump from 2020, the report showed.

"It has never been as bad as this," NRC chief Jan Egeland told reporters.

"The world is falling apart."

Natural disasters continued to account for most new internal displacement,
spurring 23.7 million such movements in 2021.