World Refugee Day: 68.5 million people uprooted from home every year

Chakmarkul refugee camp.

Chakmarkul refugee camp. File photo/Reuters

Media Bureau | Zee News

ON THE WEB, 20 June 2018

Over 8.5 million people are uprooted across the globe, shared the United Nations on World Refugee Day, which is celebrated on Wednesday, June 20, every year. Requesting solidarity, compassion and action, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that a new model to help those uprooted from their homes is now being tested.

“A new model is now being tested, with positive results – based on equity, on justice and on humanitarian values and standards. Countries and communities need more systematic, long-term support as they take on the job of helping uprooted families. Refugees themselves need to be included in new communities, and given the chance to realise their potential. And solutions are needed – to help refugees return home when the time is right, or build new lives elsewhere. The Global Compact on Refugees – to be adopted this year – aims to make these happen,” said UN in a statement.

Nine out of 10 refugees are in their own countries or countries next door, and the impact is massive – on refugees themselves, and on the communities that open their doors to them, added the statement by UN.

“On World Refugee Day, it’s time to recognise their humanity in action – and challenge ourselves, and others, to join them – in receiving and supporting refugees in our schools, neighbourhoods, and workplaces. This is where solidarity starts – with all of us,” said the UN.

“We see this every day – in Beirut, Lebanon; Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh; Yumbe, Uganda; Frankfurt, Germany; Lima, Peru and countless villages, towns and cities around the world. It’s the men, women and children there, the local organisations and faith groups, the teachers, local business people and municipal leaders who make the difference – with humanity, compassion and solidarity.

Sharing details, Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the continued crises in places like South Sudan and Congo, as well as the exodus of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar that started last year, raised the overall figure of forced displacements in 2017 to 68.5 million.

Of that total, 16.2 million were newly displaced last year — an average of more than 44,000 people per day. Most have been displaced for longer than that, some forced to flee multiple times.

For the fourth year running, Turkey was again the country with the largest number of refugees – mostly Syrians – at 3.5 million at the end of 2017. The United States received the most new individual applications for asylum last year, at nearly 332,000. Germany was second at more than 198,000. But UNHCR, Grandi’s agency, said the figures debunked the flawed perception among some that a refugee crisis has affected more developed countries in the “Global North”. It said 85 per cent of refugees are in developing countries, many of them “desperately poor”.

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