Number of displaced people in the world the highest ever since World War II
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/20/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
More than 50 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes and nations due to conflict at the end of last year, the highest number since World War II. These shocking statistics were compiled by the United Nations. U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says these alarming figures confirms the inability of nations to resolve -- or prevent conflict.
Even more tragically, The United Nations notes that 50 percent of the world's displaced are children.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "All these conflicts are not only creating a dramatic humanitarian situation, but they represent today a major threat to global peace and security-a threat that is felt everywhere. So, solidarity with today's refugees is not only a matter of generosity, it is, as I usually say more and more a matter of enlightened self-interest," Guterres said.
World Refugee Day, then, is no reason to celebrate. Of the more than 50 million people forcibly displaced, the U.N. study found that 16.7 million are refugees and more than twice that number, 33.3 million, are people displaced within their own countries.
There has been a massive increase in forcible displacement mainly by the war in Syria, with 2.5 million Syrian refugees and 6.5 million internally displaced.
In all, nearly 3 million Syrians have crossed into neighboring Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, while another 6.5 million remain displaced within Syria's borders.
"We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending war, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict," Guterres said. "We see the Security Council paralyzed in many crucial crises around the world."
Scenes of new displacement have occurred in Africa, notably in Central African Republic, and South Sudan. The biggest refugee populations under UNHCR care are Afghans, Syrians and Somalis, accounting for more than half of the global refugee total.
Even more tragically, The United Nations notes that 50 percent of the world's displaced are children. More than one million people have sought asylum in 2013, most in developed countries.
While most claims for political asylum are made in the West, High Commissioner Guterres said the perception that all refugees are fleeing to wealthy northern countries in search of a better life -- and not for protection, is false.
"The truth is that 86 percent of the world refugees live in the developing world. And, again this is the highest percentage since the beginning of the century. It compares to 70 percent only 10 years ago. So, the trend in the world is not only to have more and more refugees, but to have more and more refugees staying in the developing world," Guterres says.
The ability to find long-term solutions for these people is waning, the U.N. warns. It says last year it only succeeded in voluntarily returning 414,600 refugees to their homes of origin, the fourth lowest level of refugee returns in almost a quarter century.
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