Thursday

2nd Feb 2023

Number of people forcibly displaced reaches historic high

  • One percent of the world’s population – or 1-in-95 people – is now forcibly displaced, says the UN refugee agency (Photo: Josh Zakary)

The number of people forced to flee their homes has risen to record numbers, says the United Nations.

A United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) report out on Friday (18 June) says 82.4 million people globally were displaced last year.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"This was more than double the level of a decade ago (41 million in 2010), and a four percent increase from the 2019 total of 79.5 million," it said.

The flare up violence in Ethiopia, as well as on-going conflicts and wars elsewhere, comes against the backdrop of a pandemic caused by Covid-19.

Last year alone saw some 11.2 million newly-displaced people, notes the report. Travel restrictions and border closures meant a relatively few number of people (251,000) were able to resettle elsewhere or return to their home countries.

"This is the third-lowest number of the past decade, and it continues a downward trend from the previous two years," notes the report. Of those some 34,400 were resettled refugees, compared to 107,800 in 2019.

Turkey remains the top host country for refugees, with just under four million, mostly Syrian, people.

Colombia comes second with over 1.7 million, followed by Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1.4 million) and Germany (1.2 million).

Similar observations were made earlier this week by the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino.

He told MEPs that the pandemic had triggered an unprecedented health, humanitarian, social, economic, and human rights crisis.

He said those impacts, coupled with extreme poverty, political instability and disasters, have driven humanitarian needs to new levels.

"At the end of last year, over 235 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance and protection," he said.

He said the imposition of border restrictions and travel bans had also left migrants stranded, including seasonal workers and many others.

He noted working migrants still managed to send some $545bn in remittances last year, an overall sum that surpasses foreign direct assistance and foreign direct investment.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of migration in Africa remains inside the continent, he said.

For its part, the European Union has been negotiating an EU resettlement scheme for the past three years.

"It is about time we conclude this file and adopt it as soon as possible," said Spanish socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar. The EU had also recently adopted a Blue Card directive to attract high skilled workers from abroad.

"We are an aging continent and that is quite clear," noted Portugal's minister of home affairs, Eduardo Cabrita. But the thrust of the EU's migration policy still remains focused on preventing unwanted arrivals, as it seeks to secure deals with countries of origin and transit.

Some 54 ministers of foreign affairs and home affairs in March had gathered to discuss the external dimension of migration. Those talks have helped set the stage for an EU summit among heads of government and state later this month.

Record number of people fleeing violence, says UN

The least developed countries account for less than 1.3 percent of global GDP yet host 27 percent of the world's displaced populations. High-income countries, by comparison, host 16 percent.

EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border

The European Commission wants to shore up the land border between Bulgaria and Turkey with drones. "We can strengthen the border with management capabilities," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs.

Latest News

  1. EU green industry plan could spark 'dangerous subsidy race'
  2. Wolves should be defended, EU ministers urge
  3. EU Commission wants drones for Bulgaria on Turkey border
  4. MEPs rally ahead of vote for gig-economy workers' rights
  5. Europe is giving more aid to Ukraine than you think
  6. Hungary blames conspiracy for EU corruption rating
  7. Democracy — is it in crisis or renaissance?
  8. EU lobby register still riddled with errors

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  4. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  6. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us