News / Africa

Number of World Refugees and Displaced People Highest in 15 Years

Syrian refugees are seen in a camp, in Boynuyogun, Turkey, Tuesday, June 14, 2011.
Syrian refugees are seen in a camp, in Boynuyogun, Turkey, Tuesday, June 14, 2011.
Lisa Schlein

A new report finds 43.7-million people worldwide were forcibly displaced by conflict by the end of 2010, the highest number in the past 15 years.  The U.N. refugee agency, which has just released its annual report on Global Trends 2010, assists more than 25 million of these refugees and internally displaced people.

The numbers quoted are huge and they are all going in the wrong direction.  The statistics show more people are fleeing their homes because of conflict.  At the same time, fewer refugees and internally displaced people are returning home than in past years, and fewer still are finding places of resettlement in third countries.

The report notes this is a bad sign, saying it shows the search for durable solutions to long-lasting refugee problems is foundering.  

UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Alexander Aleinikoff, says more than seven-million refugees have been living in exile for more than five years, some for more than 30 years.  The prospects of their going home in the near future, he said, are dim.

“The numbers of resettled refugees is down. Only about one percent of the world refugees or less than one percent are resettled each year. This year, it will be under 100,000 people.  That is out of more than 10 million.  The number of returns, of people returning home, are down.  In 2010, under 200,000 people returned home, which is the lowest amount in a decade," he said.

Aleinikoff said the causes of displacement are not going away.  This year, he notes, new conflicts have broken out in North Africa, in Ivory Coast, Syria and Sudan.  In addition, he says millions of people around the world are homeless because of natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

He says there is an uneven distribution of the world’s displaced.  Most of the problems occur in poor countries and it is poor countries, he says, that shoulder the greatest burden of caring for these destitute millions. “Eighty percent of the world’s refugees are in ... developing countries ... and sometimes, it seems the loudest objections to refugees and asylum seekers come from regions that do not shoulder the biggest burden of accepting and hosting refugees," he said.

The report notes Pakistan, Iran, and Syria have the largest refugee populations.  Pakistan hosts nearly two-million refugees, while Iran and Syria host around one-million each.

The UNHCR study finds anti-refugee sentiment is rising in many industrialized nations due largely to the economic crisis and religious and cultural differences.  As a consequence, worrying misperceptions abound.  It says many wealthy countries fear they are being flooded by refugees and are shutting their doors to them.

Refugee officials say these fears are vastly overblown and the reverse is true.  They note the data shows the number of asylum claims in 2010 actually has gone down slightly or remained stable in most countries across Europe.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid