News / Africa

UN: Record Number Of People Fled Conflict in 2011

A woman carries water from a water hole near Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, March 10, 2012.A woman carries water from a water hole near Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, March 10, 2012.
x
A woman carries water from a water hole near Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, March 10, 2012.
A woman carries water from a water hole near Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile State, March 10, 2012.
Lisa Schlein

GENEVA - The U.N. refugee agency says global conflicts in 2011 forced a record 800,000 people to flee across borders.  The UNHCR’s 2011 Global Trends Report tracks the extent of refugee and internal displacement worldwide.  It finds more people became refugees last year than at any time since the beginning of this century.  The report is being released in advance of World Refugee Day on June 20.  

 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there were 42.5 million refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers, at the end of 2011.  For the first time, the report details the extent of forced displacements from a string of humanitarian and political crises that began in late 2010 in Ivory Coast.  

 

This, it says, was quickly followed by popular protests against corrupt dictatorships in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria.  The turmoil caused by the Arab Spring was matched, and in many ways exceeded, by the crisis of drought and famine in the Horn of Africa that affected more than 12 million people.

 

Key Refugee Figures

  • 42.5 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide
  • 4.3 million people were newly displaced in 2011
  • 46% of refugees are under 18 years old
  • Afghanistan is the leading country of origin for refugees
  • Pakistan is host to the most refugees in the world
  • 532,000 refugees repatriated voluntarily in 2011

Source: UNHCR

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says the people uprooted by these catastrophic events represent human suffering on an epic scale.  Unfortunately, he says, 2012 does not look more auspicious than 2011.

 

“I do not remember in my tenure as High Commissioner to have at the same time, three acute, massive refugee crises as we are having today in Syria, in Sudan-South Sudan, and in Mali.  We already have more than 80,000 refugees coming out of Syria, 190,000 refugees coming out of Sudan into the South and into Ethiopia, and 160,000 refugees coming out of Mali into Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso-not to mention a small number into Algeria," he said. 

 

The report traces several worrying trends during the past 10 years.  One is that forced displacement is affecting larger numbers of people globally.  Another is that a person who becomes a refugee is likely to remain one for many years.  

 

The report notes almost three quarters of the 10.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate have been in protracted exile for at least five years.

Global Forced Displacement, 2001 - 2011Global Forced Displacement, 2001 - 2011
x
Global Forced Displacement, 2001 - 2011
Global Forced Displacement, 2001 - 2011

High Commissioner Guterres says that contrary to widely held perceptions in industrialized countries, 80 percent of the world’s refugees are being hosted in developing countries.  

 

He says the presence of hundreds of thousands of refugees in these poor countries has an enormous impact on their economies and in their societies.

 

“I do not like to talk about the word burden because this is something that countries are doing in a brotherly way, opening their borders, opening the doors of their cities, sometimes opening their hearts to support people in need.  But, we have to recognize that for countries that face very difficult economic situations with low levels of development, this presence represents a huge impact.  And, that impact requires a lot of international solidarity-not only in economic development cooperation, but also in offering more resettlement opportunities in the developed world," he said. 

 

Guterres says last year, only 60,000 refugees were resettled from countries of asylum to countries in the industrialized world.  Most were resettled in the United States, followed by Canada and Australia.

 

The report says Afghanistan remains the biggest producer of refugees with 2.7 million people living in exile, followed by Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

The report notes an estimated 12 million stateless people worldwide continue to be deprived of the most basic benefits and rights accorded to citizens of a country.  

 

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid