The World Now Has Almost 80 Million Refugees, Says UNHCR

The World Now Has Almost 80 Million Refugees, Says UNHCR

The world had, at the end of last year, 79.5 million displaced persons, informs the Global Trends report released on June 18th by the UN for Refugees (UNHCR). The number represents almost double the 41 million individuals in this situation in 2010 and accounts for about 1% of the world population.

In addition to refugees and asylum seekers, the balance also takes into account those citizens forced to move within their own country. Considering only refugees and requesters, the world has 33.8 million people in these situations.

Almost 80 million people displaced worldwide. UNHCR 2019 survey considers people who have left their homes to escape persecution, violence, conflict and human rights violations

In comparison with the previous report, the world has gained almost 9 million more displaced persons. According to UNHCR, this high 12% is due to two main factors:

  • Continuity of conflicts at Democratic Republic of Congo, at the Yemen, at Syria and in the Sahel region, in North Africa.
  • Mapping the citizens of Venezuela who crossed borders to escape from human rights violations.

68% of the world’s refugees left 5 countries. The report also points out that refugees tend to delay returning to their country of origin due to the delay in resolving the situations that caused them to leave their homes. This is the case of Syrian War, which has been going on since 2011.

For this reason, while the 1990s registered around 1.5 million refugees returning to their countries of origin each year, in the past 10 years this annual rate has dropped to 390 thousand returns. The UNHCR spokesman in Brazil, Luiz Fernando Godinho, considers that the continuity of the crises shows a trend.

“IT IS NO LONGER A SHORT-TERM PROBLEM. THE REFUGE IS CONSOLIDATED IN THE INTERNATIONAL REALITY AS A LONG-TERM ISSUE,” SAID THE REPRESENTATIVE.

Another trend shown is that refugees and asylum seekers tend to seek out neighbouring countries: Colombia, for example, became the second country with the largest number of people in this situation because of the crisis in Venezuela, with 1.8 million refugees.

The crisis in Venezuela is also behind the refuge numbers in Brazil: the country currently has 43,000 foreigners in this condition, according to the balance sheet of the National Committee for Refugees (Conare) published last week. Of this total, about 88% are Venezuelans, almost all approved in the last six months.

According to the committee, linked to the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, the increase is explained by the three waves of approval of orders made by Venezuelans: one in December, one in January and another in April – this, intended for a contingent of children of refugees from Venezuela.

Conare has classified the neighbouring country for a year as being in a situation of “serious and widespread violation of human rights”, which accelerates the approval of asylum applications. According to UNHCR, the measure meets the agency’s recommendations.

“IT IS A POSITIVE POINT IN BRAZIL, WHICH FOLLOWED A RECOMMENDATION FROM UNHCR GIVEN TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION FOR VENEZUELANS”, COMMENTS GODINHO.

Currently, there are 193,737 asylum applications in Brazil still in progress at Conare, according to consolidated figures on May 31. Of these, more than 104 thousand requests – that is, 53.7% of the total are Venezuelans.

With the world figures closed at the end of 2019, the data on refuge and internal displacement in the world do not take into account the pandemic of new coronavirus. Even so, UNHCR already recognizes the effects of Covid-19 on this population.

According to the agency, there was a 43% drop in asylum applications made to countries in the European Union. On the one hand, closed borders have led to this lower demand. On the other hand, governments have frozen the receipt and analysis of incoming requests, says Luiz Fernando Godinho, spokesman for UNHCR.

“WHAT WE EXPECT IS THAT THESE MEASURES WILL BE TEMPORARY AND REVERSED WHEN THERE IS GREATER CONTROL OF THE DISEASE”, HE SAYS.

Monitoring data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the world had 8.3 million cases of the new coronavirus this Wednesday (17th). The number of deaths on the planet by COVID-19 came to 447k.

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