The UN’s refugee agency says the world must urgently act in solidarity to help growing numbers of refugees, internally displaced people, and stateless fleeing war, persecution and human rights abuses.
UNHCR is marking World Refugee Day on June 20 with the message, “Whoever, wherever, whenever – everyone has the right to seek safety.” Its appeal to the international community comes as the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes stands at 100 million, the highest number on record.
The war in Ukraine has driven the number of forcibly displaced people to this unprecedented figure. But other conflicts that seldom receive international news coverage are also leaving people with no choice but to abandon their homes. UNHCR says people in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso have fled their communities due to the imminent threat of violence. The Norwegian Refugee Council adds that people in Chad, South Sudan and Mali are also among several neglected African countries where people are being displaced due to violence and the lack of food, after climate shocks decimated crops. The difficulties faced by Iraqi and Syrian refugees and displaced are rarely reported.
People attempting to reach safety in other countries also continue to face hostility at borders. Thousands of people fleeing violence and destitution in Central America face an uncertain future near the US-Mexico border as the US’s Title 42 policy remains in force. The UK continues to enforce a “hostile environment” policy aimed at deterring refugees from entering the country, while seeking to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Refugees attempting to cross into countries in Europe have been illegally pushed back.
In this episode of The Stream on World Refugee Day, we’ll highlight the experiences of refugees, internally displaced people, and stateless – and ask what action is needed to get the world to care about them.