By Asmau Ahmad
The head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday said the number of people forcibly displaced around the world has climbed to a record 110 million.
UNHCR said conflicts in Ukraine and Sudan spurred millions of people to flee their homes.
In a new report, the agency said the increase of around 19 million people to 108.4 million by the end of 2022 was the biggest annual jump on record.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi told journalists that the number has since risen further to 110 million, mostly due to Sudan’s eight-week-old conflict.
“Solutions to these movements are increasingly difficult to even imagine, to even put on the table.
“We are in a very polarised world, where international tensions play out all the way into humanitarian issues.”
For the two decades before the Syria conflict in 2011, the global level was roughly stable at about 40 million refugees and internally displaced people, the Forced Displacement report showed.
However, they have risen each year since and have now more than doubled. More than one in every 74 people is now displaced, the report said.
Grandi blamed “the usual package of causes” which he said were conflict, persecution, discrimination, violence and climate change.
He said of the total refugees and those needing international protection, about half of them came from just three countries: Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Grandi raised concerns about tougher rules on admitting refugees and push-backs, without naming countries.
“We see increasingly a reluctance on the part of states to fully adhere to the principles of the (1951 refugee) convention, even states that have signed it.”
However, he was upbeat about some developments, namely a deal reached by EU ministers last week on sharing responsibility for migrants and refugees.
“There are issues of some concern. By and large however, I think it’s a positive step,” he said. “We’re so happy that the Europeans agree on something.”
He also praised Kenya which he said is looking for new solutions for the half million refugees it hosts, including many who have fled poverty and drought in the Horn of Africa.