Record 79.5M people forcibly displaced in 2019: report

More than two-thirds of all refugees came from just five countries | Manolis Lagoutaris/AFP via Getty Images

An estimated 40 percent of all displaced people are children.

The number of people forcibly displaced due to war, persecution and human rights violations in 2019 was 79.5 million, the highest number on record, according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The figure represents an increase of around 9 million from 2018, and is nearly twice as large as the 2010 figure of 41 million.

“One percent of the world’s population — or 1 in 97 people — is now forcibly displaced … as the increase in the world’s forcibly displaced population continued to outpace global population growth,” according to the UNHCR report published Thursday.

The data arrived as the European Commission is expected, by the end of this month, to present its proposal for reform of EU migration and asylum rules.

Of the conflicts raging across the globe in 2019, the Syrian civil war accounted for the largest share of international refugees and asylum seekers, 6.6 million. It was followed by the crisis in Venezuela, from where 3.6 million nationals were displaced abroad.

More than two-thirds of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.

At 3.9 million, Turkey took in the highest number of people displaced internationally, 92 percent of whom were Syrian refugees. Colombia was next, hosting nearly 1.8 million displaced Venezuelans.

Germany came in third, hosting nearly 1.5 million, 42 percent of them Syrian refugees and asylum seekers.

According to the report, between 30 and 34 million of the 79.5 million displaced people were children.

By the end of 2019, “153,300 unaccompanied and separated children were reported among the refugee population,” the report said, warning that these children were “at risk of exploitation and abuse.”

Jacopo Barigazzi contributed reporting.

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