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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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