Thu 09/11/2023 - 17:48

The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide continues to grow: At the end of September 2023, it reached already more than 114 million. This is estimated by UNHCR, the UN refugee organization, in its Mid-Year Trends Report 2023. A new, sad record. At the end of June this year, when the Annual Report was released, 110 million people were forced to flee their homes due to persecution, conflict, violence and other reasons - already 1.6 million more than at the end of 2022. Most of these people come from Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, South Sudan, Myanmar, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and the Central African Republic. Most of them never crossed an international border, but had to look for a safe place to stay within their country. Türkiye and Iran are among the countries that have taken in the most refugees - not an easy situation, as they themselves are also struggling with political and economic problems.  

The fact that an increasing number of people are being forced to relocate is also a consequence of the failure to maintain peace and security in the world. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said this in his speech to the UN Security Council. "The past weeks have provided devastating proof that disregarding the basic rules of war – international humanitarian law – is increasingly becoming the norm and not the exception, with innocent civilians killed in unprecedented numbers." Grandi was referring to the conflict between Israel and Gaza. This is the latest - and perhaps the biggest - piece of a highly dangerous war puzzle that is rapidly closing around us. Every new crisis in the world causes a previous one to be dangerously forgotten. "Let this lifelong humanitarian worker tell you that we need your voice to address each one of them. Not your voices. Your voice. Your strong, united voice," Grandi continued to the UN Security Council. The humanitarian aid workers would never give up. But they would have to do more and more with fewer and fewer resources. UNHCR urgently needs 600 million dollars by the end of the year to be able to provide the necessary aid for all the refugees. And the prospects for the coming year are not rosy either, Grandi pointed out.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks to displaced Burkinabe women in Dori. © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi talks to displaced Burkinabe women in Dori. © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

And now that winter is coming, the situation is becoming even more precarious: especially in Ukraine, where temperatures can drop to minus 20 degrees. In Jordan, in the Zaatari refugee camp, where 80,000 people from Syria have found refuge, it can also get nasty in winter. And the internally displaced people in Syria itself and in Afghanistan are often exposed to the cold without protection. All these people urgently need suitable accommodation, warm clothes and blankets. You can help us to get these people through the winter. Thank you very much! 
In his speech, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees expressed great concern about how much longer the humanitarian aid workers could hold out. Urgent action must be taken now: "Will you continue to allow this jigsaw of war to be completed by aggressive acts, by your disunity, or by sheer neglect?" said Filippo Grandi to the UN Security Council. "Or will you take the courageous and necessary steps back from the abyss?"