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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs