06/18/2020, 16.07
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UN: nearly 80 million internally displaced people fleeing conflict and famine

This is the highest number of the past ten years, about one per cent of the world's population, twice as many as in 2010, when the total stood at 41 million. Wars, persecutions, famines, diseases and human rights violations are the main factors. For UNHCR’S Filippo Grandi, “the figures are [getting] higher”.

Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Some 80 million people world-wide have been forced to flee their homes because of violence and persecution, many seeking asylum in their own country, the UN reported today. This is the highest level in ten years.

The annual Global Trends report by the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, shows a radical change in the forced movements of people. About 1 per cent of the world’s population (79.5 million), have been displaced, twice as many as in 2010, when it stood at 41 million.

The figure does not take into account people internally displaced by the crisis triggered this year by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which could displace even more people, both inside and outside countries.

According to the report, one human in 97 had been uprooted and displaced by the end of 2019. Wars, persecutions, famines, diseases and human rights violations are the main causal factors.

The cases include Syria’s almost ten-year-old civil war, minority persecution in South Sudan and Myanmar, Venezuelans fleeing their country under President Nicolás Maduro, climate change in the Sahel, the war in Yemen and related epidemics, the conflicts in Libya and Afghanistan.

More than two thirds (68 per cent) of people fleeing come from just five countries: Syria (6.6 million), Venezuela (3.7 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million) South Sudan (2.2 million) and Myanmar (1.1 million).

Most of them (85 per cent) have found shelter in developing countries; foremost Turkey, which has 3.6 million refugees, mostly from Syria; Colombia follows with 1.8 million displaced people from Venezuela, Germany (1.5 million) and Pakistan (1.4 million).

"One per cent of the world population cannot go back to their homes because there are wars, persecution, human rights violations, and other forms of violence," said UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi. This trend “has been going on since 2012,” and “the figures are higher than the year before," Grandi added.

Displacements are more frequent and no longer short-term or temporary. Grandi notes that ten years ago, the number of displaced people around the global stood at around 40 million. "So it has basically doubled. And we don't see this trend diminishing," he explained.

Indeed, since last year, some 11 million people have become newly displaced, especially in a handful of conflict-torn countries and regions, like Syria where, after more than nine years of civil war, 13.2 million people have been displaced either inside or outside the country, a full sixth of the global total.

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