UN: 'Wars displace record numbers'

With 26 million people displaced across the world, Latin America, despite its relative quiet since the 1980s, still factors large in the equation. Colombia, with a de facto civil war still happening, has displaced (internally) 3 million people, more than even Iraq (2.7 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1.5 million). The future of warfare – over resources, the sea, economies – will inevitably displace millions more. Below is an excerpt from Al-Jazeera.

colombia refugee camp

A record number of people were registered as forcibly displaced within their own country during 2008, the UN’s refugee agency has said.

Last year, 14.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were registered as living under UN care, compared to 13.7 million the previous year, according to a UNHCR study published on Tuesday.

The annual refugee trends survey states that the total number of IDPs receiving UN assistance by the end of 2008 was “the highest figure on record”.

Overall, 42 million people have been forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution, including 16 million refugees and asylum seekers worldwide and 26 million IDPs.

Of these IDPs, 11.6 million are left to either fend for themselves or receive assistance from other agencies.

While the total number of refugees and internally displaced people fell by 700,000 this year compared to last, renewed fighting in the first few months of 2009 – most notably in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Somalia – has displaced millions more.

Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees, warned it can take years for refugees and IDPs to return to their homes – if ever.

“While some displacements may be short-lived, others can take years and even decades to resolve. We continue to face several longer-term internal displacement situations in places like Colombia, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

“Each of these conflicts has also generated refugees who flee beyond their own borders,” he said.

The study, “2008 Global Trends: Refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, internally displaced and stateless persons”, stressed long-term displacement was of particular concern.

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~ by Daniel on June 16, 2009.

One Response to “UN: 'Wars displace record numbers'”

  1. Really interesting post.

    I didn’t know the numbers of displaced by the war in Colombia.

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