UN: Displacement rises in first half of 2021 due to conflict, violence

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Over 84 million people displaced globally, says report by UN Refugee Agency

By: Merve Berker

The number of displaced people in the world rose in the first half of 2021 due to conflict, violence and climate change, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a report released Thursday.

“The trend in rising forced displacement continued into 2021 – with global numbers now exceeding 84 million – as more people fled violence, insecurity and the effects of climate change,” the agency said in its Mid-Year Trends report.

“The report, for January-June 2021, showed an increase from 82.4 million at end 2020. This resulted largely from internal displacement, with more people fleeing multiple active conflicts around the world, especially in Africa,” the UNHCR said.

Despite the rising trend in displacement, restrictions related to COVID-19 limited the places for asylum seekers.

“’The international community is failing to prevent violence, persecution and human rights violations, which continue to drive people from their homes,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“In addition, the effects of climate change are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in many areas hosting the forcibly displaced,” said the agency on its website.

“Nearly 51 million people are now internally displaced, as conflict and violence flared around the world during the first half of 2021. Much of the new internal displacement was in Africa, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 1.3 million and in Ethiopia with 1.2 million.

“Violence in Myanmar and Afghanistan also forced people from their homes between January-June 2021,” it added.

The report said the number of refugees also kept rising in the first half of this year and reached nearly 21 million.

“Most new refugees came from five countries,” the UNHCR said, adding that 71,800 refugees came from the Central African Republic, 61,700 from South Sudan, 38,800 from Syria, 25,200 from Afghanistan and 20,300 from Nigeria.

Displacement rises in first half of 2021 due to conflict, violence: UN

“The lethal mix of conflict, COVID-19, poverty, food insecurity and the climate emergency has compounded the humanitarian plight of the displaced, most of whom are hosted in developing regions,” the report noted.

“Solutions for forcibly displaced populations remain in short supply. Under 1 million internally displaced people and 126,700 refugees were able to return home in the first half of 2021.”

“’The international community must redouble its efforts to make peace, and at the same time must ensure resources are available to displaced communities and their hosts.

“It is the communities and countries with the fewest resources that continue to shoulder the greatest burden in protecting and caring for the forcibly displaced, and they must be better supported by the rest of the international community,” Grandi added.

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