'Truth spoken without moderation reverses itself'
This blog is a source for intellectual exploration. It includes a list of alternative resources and a source of free books. The placement of an article does not imply that I agree with it, merely that I found it thought-provoking. There are also poems and book reviews. Texts written by me are labelled. Readers are free to re-post anything they like.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Migrant boat crisis: the story of the Greek hero on the beach // Scenes from a tragedy: just another week in Europe's migrant crisis - in pictures // 60 million human beings displaced due to war and persecution
Europe is in the grip of an emergency as tens of thousands of migrants and refugees from Syria, the Middle East and Africa attempt to cross into its territory. In these startling images – all from the past week – photographers have captured the drama of migrants’ desperation to find a new life in Europe, whatever the cost
GENEVA, June 18 (UNHCR) – Wars, conflict and
persecution have forced more people than at any other time since records began
to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new
report from the UN refugee agency. UNHCR's annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released
on Thursday (June 18), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest
level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end
of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year
earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago. The increase represents the biggest leap ever seen in a
single year. Moreover, the report said the situation was likely to worsen still
Globally, one in every 122 humans is now either a refugee,
internally displaced, or seeking asylum. If this were the population of a
country, it would be the world's 24th biggest. "We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked
slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as
the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before," said
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Since early 2011, the main reason for the acceleration has
been the war in Syria, now the world's single-largest driver of displacement.
Every day last year on average 42,500 people became refugees, asylum seekers,
or internally displaced, a four-fold increase in just four years.
"It is terrifying that on the one hand there is more
and more impunity for those starting conflicts, and on the other there is
seeming utter inability of the international community to work together to stop
wars and build and preserve peace," Guterres added.
The UNHCR report detailed how in region after region, the
number of refugees and internally displaced people is on the rise. In the past
five years, at least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited: eight in Africa
(Côte d'Ivoire, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, northeastern Nigeria,
Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and this year in Burundi); three in
the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, and Yemen); one in Europe (Ukraine) and three in
Asia (Kyrgyzstan, and in several areas of Myanmar and Pakistan).
"Few of these crises have been resolved and most still
generate new displacement," the report noted, adding that in 2014 only
126,800 refugees were able to return to their home countries -- the lowest
number in 31 years. Meanwhile, decades-old instability and conflict in
Afghanistan, Somalia and elsewhere means that millions of people remain on the
move or – as is increasingly common – stranded for years on
the edge of society as long-term internally displaced or refugees.
One of the most recent and highly visible consequences of
the world's conflicts and the terrible suffering they cause has been the
dramatic growth in the numbers of refugees seeking safety through dangerous sea
journeys, including on the Mediterranean, in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, and
in Southeast Asia.
Half of all refugees are children
The Global Trends report detailed that in 2014 alone 13.9
million people became newly displaced – four times the number of the
previous year. Worldwide there were 19.5 million refugees (up from 16.7 million
in 2013), 38.2 million were displaced inside their own countries (up from 33.3
million in 2013), and 1.8 million people were awaiting the outcome of claims
for asylum (against 1.2 million in 2013).
Most alarmingly, however, it showed that over half the
world's refugees are children.
"With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the
global regime for protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid
and refuge are being abandoned," warned Guterres.
"For an age of
unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response
and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing
conflict and persecution."
Syria is the world's biggest producer of both internally
displaced people (7.6 million) and refugees (3.88 million at the end of 2014).
Afghanistan (2.59 million) and Somalia (1.1 million) are the next biggest
refugee source countries. Almost nine out of every 10 refugees (86 per cent) are in
regions and countries considered economically less developed.
Europe (up 51%)
Conflict in Ukraine, a record 219,000 Mediterranean
crossings, and the large number of Syrian refugees in Turkey – which
in 2014 became the world's top refugee-hosting nation with 1.59 million Syrian
refugees at year's end – brought increased public attention, both
positive and negative, to questions to do with refugees.
In the EU, the biggest volume of asylum applications was in
Germany and Sweden. Overall, forced displacement numbers in Europe totalled 6.7
million at the end of the year, compared to 4.4 million at the end of 2013, and
with the largest proportion of this being Syrians in Turkey and Ukrainians in
the Russian Federation.
Middle East and North Africa (up 19%)
Syria's ongoing war, with 7.6 million people displaced
internally, and 3.88 million people displaced into the surrounding region and
beyond as refugees, has alone made the Middle East the world's largest producer
and host of forced displacement. Adding to the high totals from Syria was a new
displacement of least 2.6 million people in Iraq and 309,000 newly displaced in
Sub-Saharan Africa (Up 17%)
Africa's numerous conflicts, including in Central African
Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and
elsewhere, together produced immense forced displacement totals in 2014, on a
scale only marginally lower than in the Middle East.
In all, sub-Saharan Africa saw 3.7 million refugees and 11.4
million internally displaced people, 4.5 million of whom were newly displaced
in 2014. The 17 per cent overall increase excludes Nigeria, as methodology for
counting internal displacement changed during 2014 and it could not be reliably
calculated. Ethiopia replaced Kenya as the largest refugee-hosting country in
Africa and the fifth largest worldwide.
Asia (up 31%)
Long one of the world's major displacement producing
regions, the number of refugees and internally displaced people in Asia grew by
31 per cent in 2014 to 9 million people. Continuing displacement was also seen
in and from Myanmar in 2014, including of Rohingya from Rakhine state and in
the Kachin and Northern Shan regions. Iran and Pakistan remained two of the
world's top four refugee hosting countries.
Americas (up 12%)
The Americas also saw a rise in forced displacement. The
number of Colombian refugees dropped by 36,300 to 360,300 over the year,
although mainly because of a revision in the numbers of refugees reported by
Venezuela. Colombia continued, nonetheless to have one of the world's largest
internally displaced populations, reported at 6 million people and with 137,000
Colombians being newly displaced during the year. With more people fleeing gang
violence or other forms of persecution in Central America, the United States
saw 36,800 more asylum claims than in 2013, representing growth of 44 per cent.
The full Global Trends report with this information and
more, and including data on individual countries, demographics, numbers of
people returning to their countries, and available estimates of stateless
population is available at http://unhcr.org/556725e69.html.