Client agencies that labor largely out of public view on behalf of the world's refugees annually share stats with this blog that astound us every year. Americans live in a civilization ordered by the rule of law. Unless we take the time to look outside our society, we rarely notice the civil disorder that plaques millions of our fellow humans.
Things Continue to Deteriorate
At the end of 2021, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations, or events seriously disturbing public order, the UNHCR reported the following deplorable statistics:
- 89.3 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide - 36.5 million are children.
- 53.2 million are internally displaced people.
- 27.1 million are refugees.
- 4.6 million are asylum seekers.
100 million people!
If that number isn't shocking enough, in the first months of 2022, more than 100 million individuals (more than the entire population of Germany) were displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. This accounts for an increase of 10.7 million people displaced from the end of the previous year. In a matter of a few months, the world’s forcibly displaced population reached the highest ever on record. This includes:
- 26.6 million refugees in the world—the highest ever seen.
- 50.9 million internally displaced people.
- 4.4 million asylum-seekers.
- 4.1 million Venezuelans displaced abroad
What Is Going On?
69% originate from just 5 countries:
Syrian Arab Republic - 6.8 million
- Conflict in Syria reached its 11th year in 2021, over a decade.
- There are 13.5 million displaced Syrians, representing more than half of Syria's total population.
- 6.8 million Syrian refugees are hosted in 128 countries.
- 80% of all Syrian refugees are located in neighboring countries, with Turkey hosting more than half (3.6 million).
Venezuela and Central America - 4.6 million
- In recent years, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have experienced a dramatic escalation in violence by organized criminal groups, locally called maras.
- The number of refugees and Venezuelans displaced abroad grew in 2021, reaching over 4 million by the end of the year.
- Colombia hosted more than 1.7 million people displaced across borders.
- 890,000 people originating from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remain forcibly displaced.
Afghanistan - 2.7 million
- There are 780,000 registered Afghan refugees and asylum seekers temporarily residing in Iran under the care and protection of the UNHCR.
- 9 million displaced Afghans are at risk of famine.
- Women and children make up 80% of all forcibly displaced within Afghanistan.
South Sudan - 2.4 million
- By the end of 2021, there were more than 2.4 million South Sudanese refugees.
- 95% of South Sudanese refugees are hosted in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Myanmar - 1.2 million
- The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.
- 1.1 million stateless Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since the start of violence in 2017.
- 90% of Rohingya refugees live in Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Footnote: Sub-Saharan Africa
- The East and Horn of Africa, and Great Lakes region hosted nearly 5 million refugees at the end of 2021.
- The region hosts 67% of the refugees on the African continent and 20% of the global refugee population.
- Conflict in the Tigray region in Ethiopia led to the internal displacement of more than 3 million Ethiopians by the end of 2021.
In the first months of 2022, more than 100 million individuals have been forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. This number is so large its impact on our imagination is blurred. Social workers laboring in refugee agencies tell us that the world social order that stabilized for a time after World War II is becoming more unstable as each year passes. As the human population continues to expand and tangible assets become scarcer, the human race will continue to compete. They say that technology and conflict critical mass restore temporary balance, but as we struggle to fit the human population into a finite planet, conflict will continue to erupt.
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