The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an increase in the numbers of people forcibly displaced in the world on June 15.
The new report states that some 43.3 million people were uprooted by conflict and persecution at the end of 2009, the highest number since the mid-1990s.
Overall refugee numbers remain relatively stable at 15.2 million, two thirds of whom fall under the mandate of the UNHCR while the remaining third are the responsibility of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. More than half (5.5 million) of those people under the UNHCR’s care are in protracted situations.
In launching the report the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antónion Guterres noted that 80% of the refugees are in the developing world. He also drew attention to the fact that it would cost less to rescue these people ‘than what is needed to rescue banks’,
The 2009 Global Trends report noted that the number of refugees voluntarily returning to their home countries had fallen to its lowest level in 20 years.
The number of people displaced by conflict within their own country grew by four percent to 27.1 million by the end of 2009. Pakistan accommodates up to 2 million people made homeless by the fighting between the government and militant forces and is seen as one of the most challenging situations.
“More attention and action is needed to address the causes of the conflict that force people from their homes,” said Gillian Southey, Campaigns Coordinator. “Nobody chooses to be a refugee but the world has become complacent enough to let ten times the population of New Zealand live without a home or any security.”
Christian World Service is asking churches to pray for all those displaced on World Refugee Day, Sunday 20 June, 2010. Worship resources including information and action suggestions are available at: https://www.cws.org.nz/files/World%20Refugee%20Day%202010_0.pdf
19 June 2010