Number of displaced people globally close to 69 million

UNHCR says 85 per cent of refugees are in poor and developing countries

Filippo Grandi,  the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: crises in South Sudan and Congo, and the exodus of Muslim Rohingya, raised forced displacements in 2017 to 68.5 million. Photograph: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: crises in South Sudan and Congo, and the exodus of Muslim Rohingya, raised forced displacements in 2017 to 68.5 million. Photograph: Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty

 

Nearly 69 million people who had fled war, violence and persecution were forcibly displaced last year, the UN refugee agency said, a record for the fifth straight year.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the continued crises in places like South Sudan and Congo, as well as the exodus of Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar which started last year, raised the overall figure of forced displacements in 2017 to 68.5 million.

Of that total, 16.2 million were newly displaced last year – an average of more than 44,000 a day. Most have been displaced for longer than that, some forced to flee multiple times.

“The global figure has gone up again by a couple of million,” said the high commissioner, Filippo Grandi.

‘Protracted conflicts’

“This is because of protracted conflicts and lack of solutions for those conflicts that continue, continuous pressure on civilians in countries of conflict that pushed them to leave their homes and new or aggravating crises, like the Rohingya crisis.”

The UNHCR said the figures debunk the flawed perception among some that a refugee crisis has affected more developed countries in the “Global North”. It said 85 per cent of refugees are in developing countries, many of them “desperately poor”.

“It should be an element dispelling the perception, the notion that is so prevailing in many countries: that the refugee crisis – singular – is a crisis of the rich world,” Mr Grandi said.

“It is not. It continues to be a crisis mostly of the poor world.”

The data release came ahead of World Refugee Day on Wednesday.