29th Sep 2023

UN registers largest increase in people fleeing conflict

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The UN refugee agency has registered its largest-ever spike of people displaced by war, persecution, violence and human rights abuses.

In a report out Wednesday (14 June), the agency says the number of people displaced increased by 21 percent, to an estimated 108.4m as of the end of last year.

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The 21 percent or 19 million is the biggest ever increase recorded, it said, in a press statement.

Over half of those are due to a record number of refugees, asylum seekers and others in need of international protection forced to flee in 2022, it said.

The data comes as the war in Ukraine and the erupting conflict in Sudan pushed the global figures even further, to around 110m by May.

The increase is also partly due to revised numbers of forcibly-displaced Afghans found in Iran, as well as Venezuelans in Colombia and Peru.

Meanwhile, poor countries like Chad, Congo and Uganda collectively took in some 16 percent of refugees, while another 26 percent went to places like Bangladesh, Iran and Pakistan.

In comparison, wealthy states like those found in Europe and in North America took in 24 percent. That 24 percent was mainly driven by Ukrainian refugees and represents a sharp increase compared to previous years.

At the same time, most EU member states failed to resettle a single refugee last year.

This came despite the number of refugees worldwide increasing by 35 percent, another record, hitting a total of just over 34 million at the end of 2022.

The rate was largely due to refugees fleeing Ukraine, as well as Afghans in Iran and Pakistan. Turkey remains the largest refugee-hosting country in the world with some 3.6m at the end of 2022.

By comparison, Iran hosted 3.4m, Colombia 2.5m and Germany 2.1m, noted the report.

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