People's Stories Wellbeing


120 million people forcibly displaced in 2024
by UNHCR, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
 
20 June 2024
 
World Refugee Day, by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees:
 
Today, on World Refugee Day, we honour the millions of people around the globe who are forced to flee violence and persecution. We celebrate their remarkable fortitude and capacity for renewal, despite the daunting challenges they face.
 
The picture is rarely as desperate as where I am now, in Jamjang, South Sudan. In recent months nearly 700,000 people have crossed from neighbouring Sudan, fleeing a devastating war that has taken their homes, their loved ones - everything. Some fled this country long ago to escape South Sudan’s civil war; now they are being forced back to a place still struggling to recover from years of fighting and famine. Others are Sudanese – teachers, doctors, shopkeepers and farmers – who must now navigate life as refugees.
 
Refugees arriving at borders is not just an issue for rich countries. Three quarters of the world’s refugees live in countries with low or modest incomes – it is false, and irresponsible, to claim that most are trying to get to Europe or the US.
 
Just look at the tragedy unfolding in Sudan: It is neighbouring South Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia and Egypt that provide sanctuary to Sudanese people fleeing the horror.
 
These countries show that solidarity is possible even under the most trying circumstances. I commend them for it. But they cannot do it alone. At a time of division and upheaval, refugees – and those hosting them – need us all to pull together.
 
We live in a world where conflicts are left to fester. The political will to resolve them seems utterly absent. And even as these crises multiply, the right to seek asylum is under threat. To make matters worse, the global effects of climate change take an ever more devastating toll – including here, where severe flooding is expected to submerge villages and farmlands, adding to South Sudan’s woes.
 
Yet there are many reasons for hope. Today is also a day to celebrate progress made. A bold new development plan in Kenya will transform legacy refugee camps into settlements where refugees will have greater opportunities to advance, and full access to a range of services. In Colombia, UNHCR supports a government system to include almost 2.3 million Venezuelans in the labour market. In Ukraine, we helped to build a platform that supports people who are cautiously returning to repair or rebuild their homes.
 
This longer-term approach is key – sustainable action in education, energy, food security, employment, housing and more, working with states, development partners and others. Let’s not leave refugees in limbo; instead, let’s give them the chance to use their skills and talents and contribute to the communities that have welcomed them.
 
International funding to help those fleeing war in Sudan, and to enable local authorities and host communities to expand infrastructure, settlements and services, has fallen short. And worldwide, many other crises are similarly neglected.
 
On World Refugee Day and every day, we can all do more to show solidarity with refugees and work towards a world where they are welcomed, or can return home in peace. With courage, commitment and compassion, solutions are within our grasp.
 
http://www.unhcr.org/news/speeches-and-statements/unhcr-s-grandi-let-s-make-refugee-inclusion-norm http://www.unhcr.org/news/press-releases/unhcr-ipsos-survey-shows-enduring-public-support-refugees-alongside-stark http://www.unhcr.org/news/announcements/laws-and-practices-asylum-must-resist-politics-fear-and-exclusion-un-rights http://www.unhcr.org/news/press-releases/ioc-refugee-olympic-team-represent-more-100-million-displaced-people-olympic http://www.unhcr.org/news-and-stories
 
June 2024
 
Forced displacement surged to historic new levels across the globe last year and this, according to the 2024 flagship Global Trends Report from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
 
The rise in overall forced displacement – to 120 million by May 2024 – was the 12th consecutive annual increase and reflects both new and mutating conflicts and a failure to resolve long-standing crises. The figure would make the global displaced population equivalent to the 12th largest country in the world, around the size of Japan’s.
 
A key factor driving the figures higher has been the devastating conflict in Sudan: at the end of 2023, 10.8 million Sudanese remained uprooted. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Myanmar, millions were internally displaced last year by vicious fighting. UNRWA estimates that by the end of last year, up to 1.7 million people (75 per cent of the population) had been displaced in the Gaza Strip by the catastrophic violence, most of whom were Palestine refugees. Syria remains the world’s largest displacement crisis, with 13.8 million forcibly displaced in and outside the country.
 
“Behind these stark and rising numbers lie countless human tragedies. That suffering must galvanize the international community to act urgently to tackle the root causes of forced displacement,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
 
“It is high time for warring parties to respect the basic laws of war and international law. 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.”
 
The largest increase in displacement figures came from people fleeing conflict who remain in their own country, rising to 68.3 million people according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre – up almost 50 per cent over five years.
 
The number of refugees, and others in need of international protection, climbed to 43.4 million when including those under UNHCR and UNRWA’s mandates. The vast majority of refugees are hosted in countries neighbouring their own, with 75 per cent residing in low- and middle-income countries that together produce less than 20 per cent of the world’s income.
 
The report showed that worldwide, more than 5 million internally displaced people and 1 million refugees returned home in 2023. These figures show some progress towards longer-term solutions.
 
“Refugees – and the communities hosting them – need solidarity and a helping hand. They can and do contribute to societies when they are included,” Grandi added. “Equally, last year millions of people 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.”
 
The report also offered new analysis on the climate crisis and how it increasingly and disproportionately affects forcibly displaced people.
 
Given the immense challenges facing 120 million forcibly displaced people outlined in the Global Trends report, UNHCR remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering new approaches and solutions to help people forced to flee their homes, wherever they are.
 
http://www.unhcr.org/global-trends-report-2023 http://www.unhcr.org/global-trends http://www.nrc.no/news/2024/june/117-million-forced-to-flee-an-utter-failure-to-protect-civilians/ http://reliefweb.int/report/world/ration-cuts-taking-hungry-feed-starving
 
May 2024
 
Conflicts drive new record of 75.9 million people living in internal displacement, reports the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre
 
Conflict and violence in Sudan, Palestine and elsewhere drove the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) around the world to 75.9 million at the end of 2023, a new record, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), which published its annual Global Report on Internal Displacement today.
 
Of the total, 68.3 million were displaced by conflict and violence and 7.7 million by disasters. Almost half, 46 per cent, of all IDPs live in sub-Saharan Africa.
 
In Sudan, the 9.1m people displaced at the end of the year was the most ever recorded in a single country since records began in 2008. Sudan's 6 million internal displacements, or forced movements, by conflict during 2023 were more than its previous 14 years combined and the second most ever recorded in one country after Ukraine's 16.9 million in 2022.
 
In the Gaza Strip, IDMC calculated 3.4 million displacements in the last three months of 2023, which was 17 per cent of total conflict displacements worldwide during the year.
 
Alexandra Bilak, IDMC director, said the millions of people forced to flee in 2023 were just the "tip of the iceberg", adding to the tens of millions of IDPs already displaced from previous and ongoing conflicts, violence and disasters.
 
"Over the past two years, we've seen alarming new levels of people having to flee their homes due to conflict and violence, even in regions where the trend had been improving," said Ms Bilak. "Conflict, and the devastation it leaves behind, is keeping millions from rebuilding their lives, often for years on end."
 
In the past five years, the number of people living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence has increased by 22.6 million, or 49 per cent, with the two biggest increases in 2022 and 2023.
 
"Millions of families are having their lives torn apart by conflict and violence. We have never, ever recorded so many people forced away from their homes and communities. It is a damning verdict on the failures of conflict prevention and peace-making," said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
 
"The suffering and the displacement last far beyond the news cycle. Too often their fate ends up in silence and neglect. The lack of protection and assistance that millions endure cannot be allowed to continue."
 
Floods, storms, earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters triggered 26.4 million displacements in 2023, the third highest annual total in the past ten years. The 7.7 million IDPs at the end of 2023 displaced by disasters is the second most since IDMC began recording this metric in 2019.
 
The 148 countries reporting disaster displacement include high-income countries such as Canada and New Zealand which reported their highest figures ever.
 
Climate change is making some hazards more frequent and intense, such as cyclone Mocha in the Indian Ocean, Hurricane Otis in Mexico, storm Daniel in the Mediterranean and wildfires in Canada and Greece last summer. It is also making communities more vulnerable and addressing the underlying drivers of displacement more urgent.
 
"No country is immune to disaster displacement," said Ms Bilak. "But we can see a difference in how displacement affects people in countries that prepare and plan for its impacts and those that don't. Those that look at the data and make prevention, response and long-term development plans that consider displacement fare far better."
 
As in previous years, floods and storms caused the most disaster displacement, including in south-eastern Africa where cyclone Freddy triggered 1.4 million movements across six countries and territories.
 
Earthquakes and volcanic activity triggered 6.1 million displacements in 2023, as many as in the past seven years combined. The earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria triggered 4.7 million displacements, one of the largest disaster displacement events since records began in 2008.
 
http://www.internal-displacement.org/news/conflicts-drive-new-record-of-759-million-people-living-in-internal-displacement/ http://www.internal-displacement.org/global-report/grid2024/ http://www.nrc.no/feature/2024/the-worlds-most-neglected-displacement-crises-2023 http://www.unicef.org/press-releases/number-displaced-children-reaches-new-high-433-million


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Around the world, the right to health of millions is increasingly coming under threat
by World Health Organization (WHO)
 
Apr. 2024
 
To mark World Health Day, the World Health Organization has launched the “My health, my right” campaign to champion the right to health of everyone, everywhere.
 
The campaign advocates for ensuring universal access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.
 
All around the world, the core challenges consistently compromising the right to health are political inaction coupled with a lack of accountability and funding, compounded by intolerance, discrimination and stigma.
 
Populations facing marginalization or vulnerability suffer the most, such as people who live in poverty, are displaced, are older or live with disabilities.
 
While inaction and injustice are the major drivers of the global failure to deliver on the right to health, current crises are leading to especially egregious violations of this right. Conflicts are leaving trails of devastation, mental and physical distress, and death.
 
The burning of fossil fuels is simultaneously driving the climate crisis and violating our right to breathe clean air. The climate crisis is in turn causing extreme weather events that threaten health and well-being across the planet and strain access to services to meet basic needs.
 
Everyone deserves access to quality, timely and appropriate health services, without being subjected to discrimination or financial hardship.
 
Yet, in 2021, 4.5 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, were not covered by essential health services, leaving them vulnerable to diseases and disasters.
 
Even those who do access care often suffer economically for it, with about 2 billion people facing financial hardship due to health costs, a situation that has been worsening for two decades.
 
To expand coverage, an additional US$ 200–328 billion a year is needed globally to scale up primary health care in low- and middle-income countries. Progress has shown to be possible where there is political will.
 
“Realizing the right to health requires governments to pass and implement laws, invest, address discrimination and be held accountable by their populations,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Realizing the highest attainable standard of health, is a fundamental right for all people, everywhere.”
 
The right to health is enshrined within the WHO Constitution, and at least 140 countries recognize the right to health in their national constitutions. But recognition alone is not enough, which is why WHO supports countries to legislate the right to health across sectors and integrate human rights into health policies and programmes.
 
The aim of this support is to make health services available, accessible and responsive to the needs of the populations they serve and to increase community participation in health decision-making.
 
On this World Health Day and beyond, WHO is calling for governments to make meaningful investments to scale up primary health care; to ensure transparency and accountability; and to meaningfully involve individuals and communities in decision-making around health.
 
Recognizing the interdependence between the right to health and other fundamental rights, the campaign includes calls to action on finance, agriculture, environment, justice, transport, labour and social affairs.
 
Individuals, communities and civil society have long defended their right to health, improving access to health care services by breaking down barriers and advocating for equity.
 
http://www.who.int/news/item/05-04-2024-who-calls-for-action-to-uphold-right-to-health-amidst-inaction--injustice-and-crises http://www.hrw.org/news/2024/04/11/global-failures-healthcare-funding http://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/05/impunity-attacks-medical-facilities-and-health-workers-must-end-says-un


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