A record 114 million forcibly displaced around the world represents a ‘’crisis of humanity’’, UN refugee agency (UNHCR) chief Filippo Grandi said in December as the Global Refugee Forum got underway in Geneva.
Setting the tone for the discussion, Mr. Grandi said that 114 million ‘’represents the number of refugees and displaced people whom persecution, human rights violations, violence, armed conflict, serious public disorder have forced from their homes: 114 million shattered dreams, disrupted lives, interrupted hopes.’’
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He stressed the need to tackle the root causes of displacement and highlighted the humanitarian obligation to assist people uprooted by ‘’protracted crises’’ in places like Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Other hotspots include growing insecurity in the Sahel, he said, ‘’the dramatic population flows across the Americas, the Mediterranean and the Bay of Bengal, and many others’’ largely fuelled by the lack of political solutions to conflicts.
Makings of success
Contemplating what has been achieved since the first ever global forum on the issue in 2019, the High Commissioner said back then ‘’we had the makings of a success. Today, those makings have turned into an engine which can bring us much further’’.
That potential has evolved into a powerful force, he said, thanks to the collaborative efforts of many, including states, NGOs, local and refugee-led organizations, sports bodies, financial institutions, faith leaders, academia, private companies, and engaged citizens.
He noted the same positive “whole-of-society” spirit evident in the Global Compact on Refugees. But he also warned UNHCR is $400 million short of its fundraising goal ‘’to end the year with the minimum of needed resources’’, adding that he was greatly concerned over next year’s outlook.
Gaza: ‘A major human catastrophe’
Calling the situation in Gaza ‘a major human catastrophe’ that reflected failure in the Security Council, Mr. Grandi expressed his fear of more civilian death and suffering, and displacement that could threaten the whole region.
He reiterated the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for an immediate and sustained humanitarian ceasefire, the release of hostages and a genuine resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.