2021: Total number of people forcibly displaced is highest since World War Two - Refugee Council
June 17, 2022

2021: Total number of people forcibly displaced is highest since World War Two

UNHCR’s 2021 Global Trends report is a stark and troubling reminder of the need for countries across the world to cooperate to provide more opportunities for people fleeing war and persecution to rebuild their lives.

In its latest report showing key statistical trends and the latest numbers of refugees, people seeking asylum and internally displaced and stateless persons worldwide, as well as numbers of people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, the UN’s refugee body warns that ‘if ongoing conflicts remain unresolved, and the risks of new ones erupting are not reined in, one aspect that will define the twenty-first century will be the continuously growing numbers of people forced to flee and the increasingly dire options available to them.’

Several staggering new figures include the total number of people worldwide who were forced to flee their homes due to conflicts, violence, fear of persecution and human rights violations hitting 89.3 million at the end of 2021.

This is more than double the 42.7 million people who remained forcibly displaced a decade ago.

Only a few weeks ago the UNHCR revealed that the figure for the total forced displacement right now exceeds 100 million people.

New displacements that forced people from their homes in 2021 included conflict in the Tigray region in Ethiopia, the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and overall increases in the number of people internally displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen.

In light of such concerning data, UNHCR highlights the ‘acute need for durable solutions at increasing scale’, mentioning the call within the Global Compact on Refugees ‘to identify and support durable solutions that enable refugees to rebuild their lives and live in safety and dignity.’

Commenting on the UNHCR’s 2021 Global Trends report, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:

“With the number of people forcibly displaced soaring to the highest figure since the immense bloodshed of World War Two, we know that more can and must be done by the world’s richest countries to provide safety for millions of refugees across the globe.

“The grave concern is that many global conflicts will not be resolved soon, meaning only a continued and steady increase in the numbers of men, women and children forced from their homes and in desperate need of protection in safe countries.

“This is an urgent situation and the time to act is now. It is vital that the UK welcomes its fair share of refugees in line with the core value of global responsibility sharing. Plans to treat people like human cargo and send them away to Rwanda does exactly the opposite.

“As we have so many times before, we call on Government to reinvest in resettlement, a vital safe route for those fleeing war and bloodshed, and commit to an ambitious but entirely feasible resettlement plan that supports 10,000 refugees each year. We urge also government to enable refugee families torn apart by war and conflict to be reunited in safety in the UK.

“Central to the Government’s vision of a Global Britain should be a focus on refugee protection, and only by leading by example can we start to find durable long-term solutions for refugees across the world.’