Russia’s invasion in Ukraine caused the number of displaced people in Europe to spike since the conflict broke out in February, though according to a detailed report by the UN, last year’s numbers were already record-breaking.
There are now more than 14 million Ukrainians displaced, with over 6 million seeking refuge in other countries according to the UNHCR.
The number of people forced to flee their homes at the end of 2021 reached 89.3 million – an increase of 8 per cent from the previous year and more than double 10 years ago.
That included a record 27.1 million refugees and 53.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) who have fled their homes but remained inside their country. The number also included 4.4 million Venezuelans displaced abroad and 4.6 million asylum seekers.
The number of IDPs make up “roughly 60 per cent of all those forced to flee their homes”, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
This figure reached a record high last year, with Syria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Ethiopia and Afghanistan continuing to experience the highest levels of internal displacement.
As the UNHCR marks World Refugee Day, Filippo Grandi, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees said in a statement: “The solutions deficit continues to grow as more people are forced to flee than are able to return home, resettle to a third country, or integrate fully into the country where they have sought safety.
“In other words, forced displacement is outpacing solutions for those on the run.”
In South Sudan, UNHCR staff and refugees from Sudan, Ethopia, Rwanda, Sudan and Burundi marked World Refugee Day with a football match at the training ground of the national soccer team.
Elsewhere, Iryna Morykvas, a Ukrainian artist and children’s book illustrator, created a unique emoji – a heart with an open door in honour of the day.
Through a partnership between Twitter and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the emoji will be available on Twitter with the hashtag #withrefugees from June 19 to 25.