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Global Increase in Forced Displacement in 2022: UNHCR Report


In 2022, there was a significant surge in forced displacement, driven by social and climate crises, according to a report by the UNHCR. The number of individuals forcibly uprooted from their homes increased by 21% compared to the previous year, totaling 108.4 million people. This included a significant number of children who were also displaced.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Highlights of the Report
  2. Impacts of Forced Displacement
  3. About United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Major Highlights of the Report:

Forced Displacement Statistics:
  • The number of forcibly displaced people reached a record high of 108.4 million by the end of 2022.
  • Approximately 30% of the displaced individuals were children.
  • This marked an increase of 19 million people compared to the previous year.
  • Out of the total displaced population, 35.3 million were refugees who crossed international borders.
Main Drivers of Displacement:
  • The full-scale war in Ukraine was the primary driver of displacement in 2022, with 11.6 million Ukrainians remaining displaced.
  • Ongoing and new conflicts in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and Myanmar also contributed to significant displacement.
  • The total number of displaced people worldwide increased to 110 million by May 2023 due to the fresh conflict in Sudan.
  • Climate change and natural disasters were additional factors leading to displacement, causing 32.6 million internal displacements in 2022.
Burden on Low- and Middle-Income Countries:
  • 90% of the displaced population originated from low- and middle-income countries.
  • These countries hosted 76% of the world’s refugees, highlighting their disproportionate responsibility.
  • Least Developed Countries (LDCs) hosted 20% of the global refugee population, facing significant challenges.
Challenges of Statelessness:
  • Statelessness worsens the difficulties faced by refugees, denying them access to essential services.
  • An estimated 4.4 million people worldwide were stateless or of undetermined nationality by the end of 2022, representing a 2% increase from the previous year.

Impacts of Forced Displacement:

Challenges Faced by Refugees:
  • Disrupted livelihoods and limited access to employment opportunities, education, and financial resources.
  • Economic hardships, poverty, and vulnerability.
  • Disrupted or denied access to education, hindering long-term development and opportunities for a better future.
  • Emotional distress, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression, due to traumatic experiences during displacement.
  • Health challenges, such as inadequate access to healthcare, malnutrition, and exposure to unsanitary conditions.
  • Difficulties in integration into host societies due to language barriers, cultural differences, and discrimination.
  • Social exclusion, marginalization, and isolation, impeding the rebuilding of their lives.
Impacts on Host Communities:
  • Pressure on resources, including housing, healthcare facilities, schools, and public services.
  • Overburdened infrastructure, leading to shortages and reduced access for both refugees and host community members.
  • Social tensions and cultural dynamics within host communities due to differences in language, religion, and customs.
  • Misunderstandings and conflicts arising from these differences.
  • Competition for employment opportunities, leading to tension and resentment.

About United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an international organization with the mandate to protect and assist refugees worldwide. Here are the key points about UNHCR:

  • UNHCR is dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and improving the future of people forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution.
  • It was established in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly to assist those who had lost their homes after World War II.
  • UNHCR’s primary mission is to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees and promote durable solutions for their plight.
Governance and Role:
  • UNHCR operates under the authority of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • It acts as the guardian of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which define the rights and legal obligations related to refugees.
  • UNHCR works closely with governments, international organizations, and civil society to address the challenges faced by refugees and find solutions.
India’s Position:
  • India is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

-Source: Down To Earth

December 2023