The number of displaced people worldwide has exceeded 100 million for the first time ever, meaning 1 in 100 people has fled their homes. Since 2010, the number has more than doubled, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has announced.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, hopes for the new record to be a wake-up call: “Humanitarian aid is alleviating the misery, but to reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability.”
Just over half of the refugees are internally displaced, meaning they are still residing within their own country.
Aside from the war in Ukraine, there are new waves of violence and ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Nigeria.
People are also displaced as a result of human rights violations and persecution, UNHCR said.
War in Ukraine
Eight million Ukrainian inhabitants were displaced within the country’s borders as a result of the Russian invasion, accordion to the UNHCR. Six million people have fled the country since the war erupted, totalling 14 million people - 14% of the total amount of refugees.
Meanwhile, two million Ukrainians have already returned to the country.
A total of nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have registered in Brussels so far, while the European Commission has announced that Brussels will welcome 20,000 Ukrainian refugees by the end of June 2022.
Belgium received a total of 65,033 refugees in 2020, a number that is likely to have increased ever since.
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The civil war of nearly 20 years in Sudan has recently flared up again, while others are fleeing the Ethiopian region of Tigray, where an unstable ceasefire for the bloody war between local fighters and the army was reached at the end of March.
In Myanmar, hundreds of thousands have been forced to leave their homes in the past year as a result of outbreaks of violence after the military coup in early 2021.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes in Afghanistan as it was recaptured by the Taliban. Syrians also continue to flee the war that erupted after the Arab Spring, of whom three million of them are in Turkey.
Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees worldwide, hosting at least four million displaced people.
The high number can be explained by an agreement between the country and the EU, as Turkey keeps refugees who plan to head to Europe against billions of euros worth of compensation.
The most problematic flow of refugees is that from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, UNHCR stated in its overview for 2022. Both the journey through the desert and the crossing over water in rickety boats annually cost many human lives.
Last year, more than 3,000 people died or disappeared en route to Europe in the Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean, according to the refugee agency.
In addition, torture, extortion, forced labour and violence against women are frequent occurrences in the journey to the north of Africa.