With climate change, violence and conflict increasing every day, the world witnessed a raise in forced displacement in the first half of 2021. Apart from this, COVID 19 also added to the worries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Mid-Year Trends report released on November 11 showed an increase from 82.4 million at end 2020. This resulted largely from internal displacement, with more people fleeing multiple active conflicts around the world, especially in Africa.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that the international community is failing to prevent violence, persecution and human rights violations, which continue to drive people from their homes. “In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in many areas hosting the forcibly displace,” he said.
REFUGEES AND ASYLUM-SEEKERS
The report points out that the number of refugees under surpassed 20.8 million, by the end of June 2021, which is 172,000 people more than at the end of 2020 by end of June 2021. More than half of new displacements were from five countries: the Central African Republic (71,800), South Sudan (61,700) Syria (38,800), Afghanistan (25,200) and Nigeria (20,300). In the same period, there were 92,100 newly displaced Venezuelans in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The report also noticed an increase in asylum-seekers, which climbed to 4.4 million, compared to 4.1 million at the end of 2020.
Conflict and violence led to nearly 50.9 million displaced internally by mid-2021. It noted that intensifying violence led to significant new displacements in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Myanmar, South Sudan and countries in the Sahel region, among other locations.
In the report, the UNHCR said that all countries included refugees, asylum-seekers and others in need of international protection in their national COVID-19 vaccination plans, which was a positive sign.
The UNHCR says that number of returnees increased compared to the same period of 2020 (both refugees and internally displaced people). However, it remained well below pre-COVID-19 levels during the same period of 2019.
It said that about 126,700 refugees returned to 23 countries of origin from 41 countries of asylum in the first half of 2021. Most returnees in the first half of 2021 were South Sudanese returning primarily from Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Noting that the international community must redouble its efforts to make peace and ensure resources to displaced communities and their hosts, Grandi said the communities and countries with the fewest resources continue to shoulder the greatest burden in protecting and caring for the forcibly displaced. The rest of the international community must support them, he added.