A record 110 million people have been displaced around the world as the conflict in Sudan contributed to a crisis already underway due to the war in Ukraine, according to a UNHCR report released on Wednesday.
The report indicated that global forced displacement continues to rise unabated in 2023, marking a significant increase of 19.1 million compared to the previous year, driven by conflicts and climate-related upheaval.
The UN refugee agency report also said poorer countries, rather than wealthy nations, disproportionately bore the responsibility of hosting displaced individuals.
Those displaced would often end up in a nearby country, even if the conditions were only marginally better, while many Western nations remained reluctant to take on board the people forced to flee their homelands.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that without solutions the “consequence is devastation, displacement, and anguish for each of the millions of people forcibly uprooted from their homes.”
The report also highlighted that almost 4.4 million people worldwide were stateless or of undetermined nationality by the end of 2022 — a 2% increase compared to the previous year.
Ukraine War Displaced Millions
According to the UN refugee agency’s Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022 report, 35.3 million displaced individuals were categorized as refugees, having crossed international borders in search of safety. A larger portion — 58% and representing 62.5 million people — faced displacement within their own countries.
In 2022, the war in Ukraine was the primary cause of displacement as the number of refugees skyrocketed from 27,300 at the end of 2021 to 5.7 million by the end of the year. This was the largest refugee outflow since World War II.
Additionally, Colombia and Peru reported higher numbers of Venezuelans seeking international protection, while the report estimates that the number of Afghan refugees in Iran also swelled.
Poorer Countries Bear Burden
The UNHCR report highlighted that low- and middle-income countries, rather than wealthy nations, continue to shoulder the burden of hosting displaced people. Despite contributing less than 1.3% of global gross domestic product, the 46 least developed countries hosted over 20% of all refugees.
Grandi called for more international support and a fairer distribution of responsibilities, particularly with the countries hosting a significant number of displaced individuals.
At the same time, the report also offered a glimmer of hope while pointing out that among those forced to flee previously, many were able to return voluntarily and safely.
In 2022, over 339,000 refugees returned voluntarily to 38 countries, while 5.7 million internally displaced individuals returned home to Ethiopia, Myanmar and Syria, among others.
They will also receive social welfare and access to housing, medical treatment and schools.
The UK has also launched a family visa scheme for Ukrainians, as well as the Homes for Ukraine initiative, under which people in Britain can nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free for at least six months.