More than 70 Million Refugees at the End of 2018, a UN Record

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More than 70 million refugees and displaced at the end of 2018, a UN record

According to UNHCR, the number of worldwide refugees has increased by 2.3 million compared to 2017; a figure that does not take into account all Venezuelan exiles.

At the end of 2018, there were 70.8 million displaced people in the world because of wars or persecutions, a record that does not reflect the extent of the exodus of Venezuelans because only a minority are seeking asylum, the UN announced Wednesday, June 19, 2019 .

The annual report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) notes that 2018 was marked by the sharp rise in internal displacement in Ethiopia, as a result of inter-communal violence, and by an increase in asylum applications submitted by those fleeing the serious political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

The Syrian conflict has continued to produce large numbers of refugees and displaced. The violence in Nigeria has also been a major source of displacement.

The report notes that the total number of “uprooted” in the world – counting refugees (25.9 million, internally displaced persons (41.3 million) and asylum seekers (3.5 million) – has increased by 2 , 3 million compared to 2017.

This estimate remains “cautious”, says UNHCR, because “although most Venezuelans must be able to benefit from the international refugee protection system, barely half a million” have applied for asylum.

Syria, Venezuela

“Once again, the trends are going in the wrong direction. New conflicts (…) are added to the old ones, “High Commissioner Filippo Grandi told the media in Geneva, calling on the UN Security Council to be more united in resolving conflicts.

The number of displaced people and refugees in the world has risen again since 2009, recording a sharp increase between 2012 and 2015 with the Syrian conflict.

Colombians and Syrians are the largest numbers of IDPs.

In the case of refugees, 5.5 million are Palestinians, who come under the purview of UNRWA. The majority come from five countries: Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Burma and Somalia.

The Syrians – more than half a million – are also the ones who filed the largest number of asylum applications last year, the majority having done so in Turkey. Venezuelans (341,800) followed, most of whom travelled to Colombia and Peru.

While Peru recently imposed visas on Venezuelans, Filippo Grandi called on countries in the region to let them in to avoid a “traffic jam” at the borders.

Read also: Immigration: Christophe Castaner says he is open to a debate on quotas

“Congratulate Germany”

Four out of five refugees live in their neighbour’s country. The vast majority, therefore, live in developing countries.

The United States, on the other hand, is the country that received the largest number of asylum applications last year, followed by Peru, Germany, France and Turkey.

For the fourth year in a row, Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world (3.7 million), followed by Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan and Germany.

Filippo Grandi, who presents the UNHCR report in Berlin, praised the migration policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had decided to open her country’s borders to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers. .

“I am not used to giving good and bad points, but I think that in this case, we must congratulate Germany for what it has done. The Chancellor has been brave.”

He also called on Europeans to find a lasting solution to the system of distribution of migrants. “We have behind us the European elections, we have frankly manageable numbers of arrivals in Europe, it is the moment to face this question”.

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