The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations, and persecution has exceeded 100 million for the first time, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts, the UN refugee agency said on Monday.
“One hundred million is a stark figure – sobering and alarming in equal measure. It’s a record that should never have been set,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees.
“This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes,” Grandi said.
Data from UNHCR had showed that the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose toward 90 million by the end of 2021.
The displaced numbers were propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries – including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“In addition, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country this year, and more than 6 million refugee movements from Ukraine have been registered,” said the UNHCR.
The 100 million people forcibly displaced worldwide represents 1% of the global population and is equivalent to the 14th most populous country in the world, it said.
The displaced people included refugees and asylum seekers and the 53.2 million people displaced inside their borders by conflict, according to a recent report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
“The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive,” Grandi said.
“Compassion is alive, and we need a similar mobilization for all crises around the world. But ultimately, humanitarian aid is a palliative, not a cure,” he added.
He said that peace and stability are the only answers so that innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile.
UNHCR said it would release its annual Global Trends Report on June 16, outlining global, regional, and national data on forced displacement for 2021.