120 million people displaced by war, violence globally - UN

Saturday, June 15, 2024 - The United Nations said on Thursday, June 13, that a total of 120 million people are living forcibly displaced by war, violence, and persecution, calling the ever-increasing number a “terrible indictment on the state of the world”.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said forced displacement globally had once again broken records, with conflicts in places like Gaza, Sudan, and Myanmar forcing even more people to leave their homes.

At the end of last year, 117.3 million people were displaced, UNHCR said in a report but by the end of April, the number had swelled further, with an estimated 120 million people around the world living in displacement.

The number is up from 110 million a year ago, and has been rising for 12 consecutive years, nearly tripling since 2012 amid a combination of new and mutating crises and a failure to resolve long-standing ones, UNHCR said.

The UN said the global displaced population is now equivalent to that of Japan.

“Conflict remains a very, very big driver of mass displacement,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi told reporters.

UNHCR last year declared 43 emergencies across 29 countries, more than four times what was common just a few years ago, he told reporters.

In particular, Grandi noted, “the way conflicts are conducted … in complete disregard” of international law, and “often with the specific purpose of terrorising people”.

“This of course is a powerful contributor to more displacement.”

Sudan’s civil war has been a key factor driving up the numbers.

Since the Sudanese war broke out in April 2023 between rival generals, it has displaced more than nine million more people, leaving nearly 11 million Sudanese uprooted at the end of 2023, UNHCR said.

Grandi pointed to the many still fleeing to neighbouring Chad, which has received some 600,000 Sudanese in the past 14 months.

“Hundreds and hundreds every day are crossing from one devastated country to one of the poorest countries in the world,” he told AFP.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar, millions more people were also internally displaced last year by vicious fighting.

In the Gaza Strip, the UN estimates 1.7 million people — 75 percent of the population — have been displaced by the war sparked eight months ago by Hamas’s October 7 attack inside Israel.

As for the war raging in Ukraine, the UN estimated that around 750,000 people became newly displaced inside the country last year, with a total of 3.7 million internally displaced people registered by the end of 2023.

The number of Ukrainian refugees and asylum-seekers increased by over 275,000 to six million, it said.

Syria remains the world’s largest displacement crisis, with 13.8 million people forcibly displaced inside and outside the country, UNHCR added.

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