News / Middle East

Number of Displaced People Hits 50 Million, Highest Since WWII

New Waves of Refugees Draw Attention to Long-term Trendsi
X
June 20, 2014 4:09 AM
Conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria have created waves of refugees, drawing renewed attention to the large number of people who have been displaced for years. As the global community observes World Refugee Day on Friday, the number of displaced people has grown to more than 45 million - the highest level in the past two decades. Zlatica Hoke reports that armed conflicts remain the dominant cause.
Watch related video from VOA's Zlatica Hoke.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency’s annual Global Trends report says more than 50 million people were forcibly displaced by conflict at the end of last year, the highest number since World War II.

As the world marks World Refugee Day, these staggering figures are nothing to celebrate. Of the more than 50 million people forcibly displaced, the report finds 16.7 million are refugees and more than twice that number, 33.3 million, are people displaced within their own countries.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said these growing numbers are a result of the multiplication of new crises. He said the alarming spectacle of seeing millions of people forced to flee for their lives confirms the inability of nations to resolve or prevent conflict.
 
  • An Afghan woman holds a child as she waits with others to have a medical check-up at a health clinic set up by the UNHCR to mark World Refugee Day in Islamabad, June 20, 2014.
  • An Afghan refugee has her eyes tested at a health clinic set up by the UNHCR to mark World Refugee Day in Islamabad, June 20, 2014.
  • Refugees, who fled the military offensive against the Pakistani militants in North Waziristan, sit on a bed in Bannu, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, June 19, 2014.
  • A Palestinian man works at his shop in Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, June 19, 2014.
  • Syrian refugees walk outside their tents, at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Majdal Anjar, Lebanon, June 19, 2014.
  • Afghan refugees wait for a transport to carry a sick man to a hospital while standing by him in a refugee camp situated in slums of Islamabad, Pakistan, June 19, 2014.
  • An Eritrean refugee poses for a picture inside her home in Khartoum, Sudan, June 19, 2014.
  • Iraqis who have fled the violence in their hometown of Mosul line up at Khazir refugee camp outside of Irbil, June 16, 2014.
  • Sinnuyar Baekon sits in front of her hut at a refugee camp outside Sittwe, the capital city of the Rakhine state, Myanmar, June 9, 2014.
  • Members of "Clowns Without Borders," perform for children at a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern town of Chtoura, in Bekaa valley, Lebanon, June 6, 2014.

“All these conflicts are not only creating a dramatic humanitarian situation, but they represent today a major threat to global peace and security-a threat that is felt everywhere.  So, solidarity with today’s refugees is not only a matter of generosity, it is, as I usually say more and more a matter of enlightened self-interest,” said Guterres.

The report finds the massive increase in forcible displacement last year was driven mainly by the war in Syria, with 2.5 million Syrian refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced.
 
The report said major new displacement also has occurred in Africa, notably in Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Overall, the biggest refugee populations under UNHCR care are Afghans, Syrians and Somalis. They account for more than half of the global refugee total.

 
Major Source Countries of RefugeesMajor Source Countries of Refugees
x
Major Source Countries of Refugees
Major Source Countries of Refugees
The United Nations notes 50 percent of the world’s displaced are children. The report says more than one million people have sought asylum in 2013, most in developed countries. They include a record 25,300 claims from separated or unaccompanied children.
 
Though most asylum claims are made in the West, High Commissioner Guterres said the perception that all refugees are fleeing to wealthy northern countries in search of a better life and not for protection is false.
 
“The truth is that 86 percent of the world refugees live in the developing world.  And, again this is the highest percentage since the beginning of the century.  It compares to 70 percent only 10 years ago.  So, the trend in the world is not only to have more and more refugees, but to have more and more refugees staying in the developing world,” said Guterres. 
 
While the forcible displacement crisis continues to escalate, the UNHCR says its ability to find long-term solutions for these people is waning.  It says last year it only succeeded in voluntarily returning 414,600 refugees to their homes of origin - the fourth lowest level of refugee returns in almost a quarter century.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Asongwe from: Cameroon
June 25, 2014 3:35 PM
It is a pity to note tha hatred among humans can be 1 is to 5 persons ratio and arms production promote the indiscriminate use , thus many persons are displaced let the world revue the reseon behind arms production.All these cost money and human life .


by: Elijah
June 21, 2014 9:35 AM
Antonio Guterres sir, the list is incomplete - ZIMBABWE


by: Manuel from: Mexico
June 20, 2014 2:48 PM
Almost all of these conflicts involve Muslims, but we know Islam is the "religion of peace" so it should all just be a big coincidence.


by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
June 20, 2014 1:45 PM
This is good news for sponsor of Terrorist group in respective countries. Saudi Arab, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey are the key players in current conflict. They must be proud to see their achievement in practical shape.


by: meanbill from: USA
June 20, 2014 10:01 AM
IT'S A FACT? -- Because of the US, EU, and NATO countries political interference in (non-European Union) countries, of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, and now Ukraine, and spreading now to bordering countries, (over 50 million innocent people have been forcibly displaced -- by the violence, killings, destruction and wars, that the US, EU, and NATO countries brought to them, when they interfered in the politics of their countries? --- (IF ONLY, they hadn't interfered in these other countries politics?), 50 million innocent people would be "living" in the home country today?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid