UN Refugee Agency Says Record 117 Million People Forcibly Displaced in 2023

UN Refugee Agency Says Record 117 Million People Forcibly Displaced in 2023

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The United Nations refugee agency on June 13 said the number of people forcibly displaced stood at a record 117.3 million as at the end of 2023, warning that this figure could rise further without major global political changes.

“These are refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, people being forced away by conflict, by persecution, by different and increasingly complex forms of violence,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Reuters reported.

“Conflict remains a very, very deep driver of displacement.”

In its report on global trends in forced displacement, UNHCR said that there had been a yearly increase in the number of people forcibly displaced over the last 12 years.

UNHCR estimates that forced displacement has continued to increase in the first four months of 2024, and that the number of those displaced is likely to have exceeded 120 million by the end of April.

“Unless there is a shift in international geopolitics, unfortunately, I actually see that figure continuing to go up,” Grandi said, referring to the risk of new conflicts.

The conflicts that have driven displacement include the war in Sudan, which Grandi described as “one of the most catastrophic ones” despite garnering less attention than other crises.

More than nine million people have been internally displaced, and another two million have fled to neighboring countries including Chad, Egypt and South Sudan, he said.

“People are arriving in the hundreds every day,” he said, referring to the influx of people seeking safety in Chad.

In Gaza, Israel’s bombardment and ground campaign have caused around 1.7 million people – nearly 80 percent of the Palestinian enclave’s population – to become internally displaced, many of them multiple times.

Grandi warned that the possible crossings of Gazans into Egypt from the southern border town of Rafah to escape Israel’s military offensive would be catastrophic.

“Another refugee crisis outside Gaza would be catastrophic on all levels, including because we have no guarantee that the people will be able to return to Gaza one day,” Grandi said.

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