June 20 marks World Refugee Day – a day designated by the UN to honour refugees around the world. It is observed at a time when even more people are at risk of displacement by the ongoing food crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
To put that in context, if the number of forcibly displaced people was a country, it would be the 15th-most populated country in the world.
At the end of 2021, the number of forcibly displaced people was 89.3 million, including:
- – 27.1 million refugees, including:
- – 21.3 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate
- – 5.8 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate
- – 53.2 million internally displaced people
- – 4.6 million asylum seekers
- – 4.4 million Venezuelans displaced abroad.
By May 2022, that number had grown to 100 million, largely due to the war in Ukraine.
This is more than double the 42.7 million people who remained forcibly displaced just 10 years ago and the most since World War II. Some of those were people forced to flee multiple times in the same year.
Twenty-three countries, hosting a combined population of 850 million people, faced high- or medium-intensity conflicts in 2021 according to the World Bank.
In 2021, the world’s 10 most neglected refugee crises were all in Africa, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“If you have a food crisis on top of everything I have described – war, human rights, climate – it will just accelerate the trends I’ve described in this report,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told journalists this week, describing the figures as “staggering”.