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Mariam Djimé Adam, 33, is sitting in the yard of Adre’s secondary school in Chad. She arrived from Sudan with her 8 children. “We were attacked in our home, my husband was killed and all our belongings were taken. I managed to escape with my children

12 June 2024Migrants and Refugees

This year and last have seen historically high levels of forced displacement worldwide according to the UN refugee agency’s (UNHCR) 2024 flagship Global Trends Report published on Thursday.

The report found that forced displacement rose to 120 million in May 2024, marking the 12th consecutive annual increase – a result of ongoing crises and newly emerging and evolving conflicts.

Key contributing factors

A major contributor to the egregious numbers found in the report is due to war between rival militaries in Sudan which saw 10.8 million uprooted by the end of 2023.

Further, millions were internally displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Myanmar last year because of brutal fighting.

The report said that the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNWRA) estimated that about 75 per cent of the population in the Gaza Strip – about 1.7 million people – have been displaced.

Yet, Syria holds the record in terms of sheer numbers with 13.8 million people forcibly displaced in and outside its borders.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said, “Behind these stark and rising numbers lie countless human tragedies. That suffering must galvanise the international community to act urgently to tackle the root causes of forced displacement.”

50 per cent increase in five years

The UNHCR trend report noted that people trying to escape conflict who remain in their country contribute to the greatest increase in displacement. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, this number has risen to 68.3 million people – a nearly 50 per cent increase in five years.

Additionally, the number of refugees and those needing international protection increased to 43.4 million based on UNHCR and UNWRA mandates.

It is high time for warring parties to respect the basic laws of war and international law,” Mr. Grandi said. “The fact is that without better cooperation and concerted efforts to address conflict, human rights violations and the climate crisis, displacement figures will keep rising, bringing fresh misery and costly humanitarian responses.”

Refugees returning home

According to the report, over five million internally displaced people and a million refugees worldwide returned home in 2023. That same year, resettlement arrivals increased to 154,300.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said last year millions of people had returned home “representing an important glimmer of hope. Solutions are out there – we’ve seen countries like Kenya lead the way in refugee inclusion – but it takes real commitment.”

He also said that “refugees – and the communities hosting them – need solidarity and a helping hand. They can and do contribute to societies when they are included.”

UNHCR said they are committed to providing “new approaches and solutions” to assist the millions of displaced people worldwide.