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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid