Global refugee number hits all-time high: UNHCR

DHAKA :The number of people forced to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere for wars, conflict and persecution rose to a record 59.5 million across the globe in 2014, according to a new report of the UN refugee agency, reports UNB.
Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than any other time in history to flee their homes and seek refuge, said the report.
UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded.
It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.
The increase represents the biggest leap ever seen in a single year.  Besides, the report said the situation was likely to worsen still further.
Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a country, it would be the world’s 24th biggest.
“We’re witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres.
Since early 2011, the main reason for the acceleration has been the war in Syria, now the world’s single-largest driver of displacement.  Every day last year on average 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced, a four-fold increase in just four years.
The UNHCR report detailed how in region after region, the number of refugees and internally displaced people is on the rise. In the past five years, at least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited: eight in Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, northeastern Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and this year in Burundi); three in the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, and Yemen); one in Europe (Ukraine) and three in Asia (Kyrgyzstan, and in several areas of Myanmar and Pakistan).
One of the most recent and highly visible consequences of the world’s conflicts and the terrible suffering they cause has been the dramatic growth in the numbers of refugees seeking safety through dangerous sea journeys, including on the Mediterranean, in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, and in Southeast Asia.
The Global Trends report detailed that in 2014 alone 13.9 million people became newly displaced – four times the number of the previous year.
Most alarmingly, it, however, showed over half the world’s refugees are children.