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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

“The world is collapsing”: The uprooted exceeded 100 million for the first time

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed, for the first time, the number of people forcibly uprooted from their place to break the barrier of one hundred million worldwide, the United Nations announced today.

“The number of people who have been forced to flee to escape armed conflict, violence, human rights abuses and persecution has reached a staggering 100 million for the first time because of the war in Ukraine and other deadly weapons. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued a press release today.

Black record

millions is scary, a source of anxiety and food for thought. “It is a record that should never have been broken,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grady.

“It must be an alarm signal that will allow us to resolve and prevent catastrophic conflicts, put an end to persecution and fight the root causes that lead innocent people to flee their homes,” he warned.The situation was already very serious, according to UNHCR statistics. At the end of 2021, the number of people uprooted worldwide reached 90 million, due to new waves of violence or protracted wars in countries such as Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan, DR Congo .

And then, on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, which threw millions of people into the streets, forcing them to flee their homes to escape the fighting, to go either to other parts of the country where the hostilities are less severe, or to other states.

Europe has experienced such a large influx of refugees since the end of World War II. Some 6.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland, mostly women and children, leaving men of military age behind. The United Nations estimates that 8.3 million could be reached by the end of the year.

In Ukraine itself, another 8 million are estimated to be internally displaced.

Following the Russian invasion, Ukraine counted 37 million people in government-controlled areas. Excluded from this number are Crimea (south), the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, and the eastern regions, which are controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

More than 1% of the world's population

The 100 million uprooted people make up more than 1% of the world's population, while just 13 countries on the planet have a population larger than that, the UNHCR said, to give a better idea of the extent of the phenomenon.

“The reaction of the international community to the people who fled to escape the war in Ukraine has been extremely positive,” Grady said. “Compassion is still alive,” he said, adding that “similar mobilization is needed for all other crises in the world,” he said. >The generosity and state aid provided to refugees by Ukraine is diametrically opposed to the very different reception of refugees from other theaters of war, such as Afghanistan or Syria.

In any case, the head of the UNHCR Recalls that “humanitarian aid is a relief, not a cure” and adds that “to reverse the trend, the only answers are peace and stability, so that innocent people do not have to choose” between the risk of being killed by war and flight or unimaginably difficult exile.

Last Friday, Mr. Grady criticized about 20 countries that, two years after the outbreak of the new coronavirus, continue to keep their borders closed to asylum seekers in the name of health insurance. He added that he suspected that they were using the pandemic as a pretext.

A report by two NGOs released on May 19 counted nearly 60 million internally displaced people in the world last year, many of whom fled their homes due to natural disasters. The situation in the world “has never been so bad,” remarked Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). “The world is collapsing,” he summed up.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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