According to the United Nations, the number of people displaced worldwide has reached 110 million, with the wars in Ukraine, Syria, and Sudan listed as primary reasons for the increase.
The organization’s annual Forced Displacement report, released on Wednesday, revealed that around 19 million individuals were displaced in the past year alone, marking the most significant annual increase in history and bringing the total figure to 108.4 million by the close of 2022. Filippo Grandi, the UN Refugee Chief, reported to journalists that the number has since climbed to a minimum of 110 million, primarily driven by the recent eight-week conflict in Sudan. The report also confirmed that 339,300 refugees were able to return home last year, while 114,300 were resettled in a third country, marking double the resettlement figure of 2021.
As Grandi explained at a Geneva press conference, the reported figures comprise individuals seeking refuge within their own countries and those crossing borders. As per the report, around 37.5 percent of the total are refugees and asylum seekers. Grandi expressed the complexity of devising solutions to these large-scale movements in a world deeply polarized by international tensions. Before the Syrian crisis in 2011, the global count of refugees and internally displaced people stood at approximately 40 million, a figure that had remained stable for nearly two decades. Yet, every year since then has seen an upward trend in this number, with Grandi attributing the increase to factors including conflict, persecution, discrimination, violence, and climate change.
A revelation from the report was that half of all refugees and those requiring international protection originate from only three countries: Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. By the end of 2022, Ukraine accounted for a significant portion, with 11.6 million of its citizens displaced, including 5.9 million internally and 5.7 million abroad. Grandi expressed concerns about countries introducing stricter regulations on refugee admission and implementing push-back practices.
Despite the challenging global situation, Grandi noted some positive developments, such as the deal reached by EU ministers last week on shared responsibility for migrants and refugees. He was also optimistic about Kenya’s efforts to find new solutions for the half a million refugees it hosts, many of whom have fled poverty and drought in the Horn of Africa.