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More and more people are forcibly displaced from home


Armed violence reduction | Inclusion | International | PUBLISHED ON June 21st 2021

Adnan Al Hussein and his daughter Nada in an informal camp in Lebanon after fleeing Idlib, Syria in 2013. | © K.Holt / HI

More than 80 million in the world are forcibly displaced, according to the last figures of the United Nations refugees agency (UNHCR – Dec. 2020)1

The number of displaced people have skyrocketed in the last few years. And more disturbing: Many of them are displaced on the long term.  


Doubled in 10 years

Number of refugees and internally displaced people has skyrocketed for the last few years reaching 80 million in 2020 against 42 in 2012. [2] The main causes driving people to flee their country are violent conflicts, human rights violations, weather-related disasters, food insecurity, etc.


Refugees and “IDPs”

Humanitarian law makes the difference between “refugees”: people who flee their home and cross a border to seek refuge abroad; and “internally displaced people (IDPs)” who are people displaced inside their own country. Among the 80 million displaced mentioned by the UNHCR, 45.7 million are displaced internally in their own country.


Being displaced for years

More and more people are displaced for years: the most emblematic example is the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. It was established in 1992 and has become like a small city. It is one of the largest refugee camp in the world with over 180,000 people. The camp consists of people from Sudan, Uganda, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia and Congo.


Five main countries

More than two thirds of all refugees (people fleeing their country and crossing a border) come from just five countries: Syrian Arab Republic (6.6 million); Venezuela (3.7 million); Afghanistan (2.7 million); South Sudan (2.3 million); Myanmar (1.0 million). A total of 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country as of mid-2020, including 138,600 refugees, 808,200 asylum-seekers and 3.6 million Venezuelans displaced abroad.

39% of the refuges are hosted in five countries: Turkey, Colombia, Pakistan, Uganda, Germany.


Displaced persons with disabilities

Among 80 million refugees in the world, around 15% have a disability. Globally, an estimated 12 million people with disabilities have been forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution. In conflict settings, this number is far higher.


Forced displacement disproportionately affects them. Persons with disabilities are often at higher risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. They also face barriers to access basic services and are often excluded from education and job.


Humanitarian organisations like HI are often the last resort for displaced vulnerable people including persons with disabilities who depend on humanitarian aid to survive.

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