- Title: Record 80 million displaced at year-end despite COVID slowing exodus â€“ UN
- Date: 17th June 2020
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (JUNE 16, 2020) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES, FILIPPO GRANDI, SAYING: "107,000 people were resettled in third countries. This is also a declining figure unfortunately. The resettlement to the United States, as you know, has declined dramatically. The biggest resettlement country today is Canada and we regret this situation because resettlement may have always been a small solution for few people, but a solution of choice especially for people with very acute protection problems or vulnerabilities, so this is another factor of concern." GRANDI LEAVING ROOM UNITED NATION BUILDING
- Embargoed: 1st July 2020 16:08
- Keywords: Displaced Syria UNHCR United Nations Venezuela migrants refugees
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH, NEAR HAZANO, SYRIA, IPIALES, COLOMBIA, NUEVO LAREDO, TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, COX'S BAZAR, BANGLADESH, NEAR HAZANO, SYRIA, IPIALES, COLOMBIA, NUEVO LAREDO, TAMAULIPAS, MEXICO
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA008CIWC2MF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Nearly 80 million people world-wide, or one percent of humanity, were uprooted at the end of 2019 after fleeing wars or persecution, a record figure capping a "tumultuous" decade of massive displacement, the United Nations said on Thursday (June 18).
The figure rose by some 9 million people from a year before and is close to double the 41 million recorded in 2010, despite COVID-19 restrictions slowing down movement, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said.
Syrians, Venezuelans, Afghans, South Sudanese and Burmese top the list of 79.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers, it said in its annual flagship report Global Trends.
"This almost 80 million figure - the highest that UNHCR has recorded since these statistics have been systematically collected - is of course a reason for great concern", said Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
But 73 percent of refugees seek asylum in a neighbouring country, defying the populist notion that they flood into Western countries, Grandi said.
The exodus includes 5 million Venezuelans who have fled their country mired in an economic and political crisis. Some 3.6 million of them were not counted in its previous statistics, but are now deemed in need of international protection, the report said.
Most Venezuelans have gone to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. An estimated 30,000 to 50,000 have returned to their homeland since April, Grandi said.
"In most of countries Venezuelans live off of the informal economy and many even qualified people unfortunately have had to live a life of subsistence basically, selling vegetables in markets, doing menial work, it's been really very precarious" he said. "And with lockdowns a lot of these jobs have disappeared almost overnight".
But restrictions imposed because of the pandemic have slowed displacement generally, Grandi said.
Some 107,000 refugees were resettled in third countries last year, the UNHCR said.
"This is a declining figure unfortunately. The resettlement to the US, as you know, has declined dramatically. The biggest resettlement country today is Canada", Grandi said.
Canada admitted 31,100 refugees for resettlement, the United States 27,500 and Australia 18,200, UNHCR figures show.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
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