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UN Refugee Chief calls for solidarity in response

  19 Juin      5       


Accra, June 19, GNA – The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, on Wednesday said the number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level over the past 68 years.

Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, shows that almost 70.8 million people were now forcibly displaced, “to put this in perspective, this is double the level 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.

“The figure of 70.8 million is conservative, in particular as the crisis in Venezuela is still only partly reflected in this number,” UNHCR stated in a statement made available to the Ghana News Agency by Ms Patience Folley, Communication and Public Information Associate for UNHCR Ghana.

According to the statement, in all, some four million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015 making this among the world’s biggest recent displacement crises.

Quoting the UN High Commissioner for Refugee, Filippo Grandi, said: “What we are seeing in these figures is further confirmation of a longer-term rising trend in the number of people needing safety from war, conflict and persecution.

“Despite the increase in numbers in need of international protection, we are also witnessing an outpouring of generosity and solidarity, especially by communities who are themselves hosting large numbers of refugees.

“We are also seeing unprecedented engagement by new actors including development actors, private businesses, and individuals, which not only reflects but also delivers the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees.

“We must build on these positive examples and redouble our solidarity with the many thousands of innocent people who are forced to flee their homes each day”.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugee said: “with every refugee situation, wherever it is, however long it has been going on for, there has to be an enduring emphasis on solutions and removing obstacles to people being able to return home.

“This is complex work in which UNHCR is constantly engaged but which also requires all countries to come together for a common good. It is one of the great challenges of our times”.

According to the statement, within the 70.8 million figures in the Global Trends report were three main groups, meaning people forced to flee their country because of conflict, war, or persecution.

In 2018, the number of refugees reached 25.9 million worldwide, 500,000 more than in 2017. Included in this total are 5.5 million Palestine refugees who were under the care of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The second group is asylum seekers – people outside their country of origin and receiving international protection, but awaiting the outcome of their claim for refugee status. At the end of 2018 there were 3.5 million asylum seekers globally.

The third and biggest group, at 41.3 million, is people displaced to other areas within their own country, a category commonly referred to as Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

Overall growth in displacement continued to exceed the rate at which solutions were being found for people who become displaced. With refugees, the best solution was being able to return home voluntarily, in safety and dignity.

Other solutions include being integrated into the host community or being resettled to a third country. However, only 92,400 refugees were resettled in 2018, less than seven per cent of those awaiting resettlement. Some 593,800 refugees were able to return home, while 62,600 became naturalized.

Ghana is host to about 13,500 refugees and asylum seekers from different countries of origin. UNHCR works with the Ministry of the Interior, the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB), and other relevant government departments and ministries as well as Partners in providing services to the persons of concern.


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