The United Nations released the Global Trend Report 2022 June 14, on refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced and stateless people worldwide. It finds that the number of forcibly displaced people stands at 108.4 million, with 29.4 million falling under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Both figures are at an historic high. The increase in forcible displacement within one year is also the largest since UNHCR started tracking these statistics in 1975. In light of the continuing significant increase, the report says forcible displacement likely exceeds 110 million as of May 2023.
Refugees from just 10 countries account for more than 87% of the global number. Syrians make up 20% of the global refugee population. Ukrainians, Afghans and Venezuelans each account for approximately 15%. The armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine has caused the fastest displacement crisis. The number of displacements within a single year has been led by Syria for four years.
The United Nations defines refugees pursuant to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as someone who:
owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.
Turkey, Iran, Colombia, Germany and Pakistan hosted the largest populations of refugees. The “Least Developed Countries” hosted 20% of the world’s refugees.
In terms of refugee resettlement, Canada has the largest intake, followed by the United States, Australia and Germany.
2022 was also the year with the highest record of asylum applications, which rose to 2.6 million. The United States remained the country with the largest number individual asylum applications. The majority of these applicants came from Latin America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
There report also notes a growing trend of people suffering from statelessness. The world’s stateless population has no nationality and therefore is barred from accessing basic rights. The majority of the stateless population resides in Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, Myanmar and Thailand. The greatest number are Rohingya, from Myanmar.
The UNHCR also reported that 41% of the world’s refugees are children and 51% are female. Recently, Libya’s UN Support Mission reported a rise in arbitrary arrests of refugees and asylum seekers in the country.
From Jurist, June 14. Used with permission.
Photo: Afghan refugee camp in Shinkiari, Pakistan, via Pixabay