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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora