Global Trends Report: UNHCR | 19 Jun 2020

Why in News

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released its annual Global Trends report before the World Refugee Day (20th June).

  • Global Trends is published every year to count and track the numbers of refugees, internally displaced people, people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people and other populations of concern to UNHCR.

Key Points

  • Displacement in 2019:
    • Nearly 80 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2019 — which is nearly 1% of the global population.
      • Half of those displaced were children.
    • Of the 80 million people, 26 million were cross-border refugees, 45.7 million were internally displaced people, 4.2 million were asylum seekers and 3.6 million were Venezuelans displaced abroad.
    • More than eight of every 10 refugees (85%) are in developing countries, generally a country neighbouring the one they fled.
    • Five countries account for two-thirds of people displaced across borders: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.
      • Syria has been the top country of origin for refugees since 2014.
  • Reason of Displacement:
    • Persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order were the main reasons behind the forced displacement.
    • 80% of the world’s displaced people are in countries or territories affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition – many of them facing climate and other disaster risk.
  • Comparison of Displacement in Past Decade (2010-19):
    • The number of refugees, under the UNHCR mandate, has doubled from about 10 million in 2010 to 20.4 million at the end of 2019. Close to 53% were newly displaced.
      • 1 in every 97 people were affected by forced displacement in 2019, compared to 1 in every 159 people in 2010 and 1 in every 174 in 2005.
    • Nearly to 40% of those displaced (or 30-34 million) forcibly between 2010-2019 include children below 18 years of age.
    • Very few people who have been displaced were able to return to their homes.
      • In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. That number has fallen to around 3,85,000 in the past decade (2010-2019).

World Refugee Day

  • It is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe.
  • It falls each year on 20th June and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution.
  • It is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for the refugee’s plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a UN Refugee Agency and a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting the rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
  • It was created in 1950 to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes.
  • It is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.

Way Forward

  • The report underlines that forced displacement nowadays is not only vastly more widespread but is simply no longer a short-term and temporary phenomenon. People cannot be expected to live in a state of upheaval for years on end, without a chance of going home, nor a hope of building a future where they are.
  • The refugees should be provided asylum, since it is a human right. Countries should not deny asylum based on race, religion, geography etc. In the aftermath of World War II, most countries agreed to protect refugees through the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • There is a need for a fundamentally new and more accepting attitude towards all who flee, coupled with a much more determined drive to end conflicts that go on for years and that are at the root of such immense suffering.

Source: DTE